Stay #CyberAware on Mobile Devices during Internet Safety Month and All Year Round
June is Internet Safety Month and with kids out of class and families gearing up for getaways, it’s a good time to take action and protect your mobile devices.
June is linked in our minds with schools shutting their doors and families taking summer trips. It’s also Internet Safety Month, which is a great time to remind parents and kids to take steps to protect their mobile devices. Smartphone ownership is up sharply. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, 77 percent of American adults own a smartphone. This is up from 35 percent in a similar 2011 survey. This Internet Safety Month be #CyberAware and stay safe online with trouble-free tips from the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA).
“Of course, we use our phones to text and talk,” said Russ Schrader, NCSA’s executive director. “But take a minute and think about the dozens of other things we do on our phones. Everything from socializing to navigating a new city to booking a hotel and getting sports scores can be done on our handy, hand-held devices. Take simple security measures but also share this valuable info with your kids. Even minimal changes can dramatically increase your protection from any number of cyber issues.”
On Average Child gets first smartphone at age 10
June can bring less hectic routines and schedules, so the time is right to stay both current and positively engaged with cyber safety. Influence Central indicates that ‒ on average ‒ a child gets his/her first smartphone at 10.3 years old. That same research reveals that by age 12, a full 50 percent of children have social media accounts ‒ primarily Facebook and Instagram. The youngest kids – who are the most vulnerable ‒ must learn to be safe and responsible. Additionally, an Experian study found that 33 percent of the 15 million Americans who have been victims of identity theft had their devices hacked while traveling. Now, more than ever, it is critical to safeguard connected devices as you teach your kids good cyber safety practices and as you prep for and enjoy your vacation.
“Establishing and upholding realistic boundaries around technology is an essential part of parenting,” said Schrader. “With the pervasive use of smartphones among parents and kids, the need for ongoing education is more crucial than ever. In early May, the Federal Trade Commission updated its popular booklet, ‘Net Cetera: Chatting with Kids About Being Online’, which is wonderful guide to help parents raise good online citizens.”
NCSA’s Tips for Safe, Summertime Fun
It’s vital for parents to stay involved in their kids’ online lives. Sharing on social and playing games are two popular mobile device pastimes. Keep in mind that both activities could likely include the potential sharing of names, birthdays, age, geographic location, contact information and photos with identifiable information. Children of all ages must be taught that a level of anonymity will help to protect them from those who might not have the best intentions.
Be Smart About Socializing
Here are three very basic things that will help protect personal information:
- Share with care – What you post can last a lifetime: Help your children understand that any information they share online can easily be copied and is almost impossible to take back. Teach them to consider who might see a post and how it might be perceived in the future.
- Post only about others as you would like to have them post about you: Remind children about the “golden rule” and that it applies online as well. What they do online can positively or negatively impact other people.
- Own your online presence: Start the conversation about the public nature of the internet as early as possible. Learn about and teach your kids how to use privacy and security settings on their favorite online games, apps and platforms.
Stay in the Game Safely
To the best of their ability, parents need to know what games their kids are playing. NCSA’s recommends the following for staying safe online while playing games:
- Secure your kids’ accounts: Ask for protection beyond passwords. Many account providers now offer additional ways for you verify who you are before you play games on that site.
- Make passwords and passphrases long and strong: Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create a more secure password.
- Have your kids use an avatar rather than an actual picture of themselves.
- Use voice chat safely or not at all. If your kids play a game that features live voice chat, make sure they disguise their voice. If the game does not have this feature, do not let them use voice chat.