Cyber safety for kids – how not to over-share

As adults, we’re a bit more aware then kids are about the dangers of over-sharing online.

But research shows that even though people express serious privacy concerns and fear identity theft, they still tend to reveal their personal details online for small rewards or for the sake of creating their online persona.

That danger is multiplied when it comes to kids.

NordVPN has some tips on how to school your kids for safety in the online world.

1.    Understand that no one is an exception from cyber-bullying or identity theft.

Research shows that people believe identity theft often takes place online, but they are very sceptical about it happening to them.

2.    Realise that everything you post online, will stay online.

That means tweets or photos that kids post and think are funny will still be there when they are a company director down the road. Future proof your kids’ lives by teaching them not to post anything now that they might regret later. That includes not sharing personal or embarrassing photos with anyone, ever.

3.    Avoid sharing personal data on Facebook.

If you allow your child to have a Facebook page, do not allow them to enter their address or phone number where it can be visible to anyone.

4.    It’s not just data – Don’t over-share feelings.

According to one study, people who share their feelings on social media often get bullied, while others look on and allow harassment to happen. That’s doubly so for kids. Teach them that it’s more advisable to share personal feelings in close and friendly circles than publicly.

5.    Protect your location.

Set up your home internet using a VPN – a virtual private network. This will hide your IP address and your location. By connecting to another country’s server, you can set your location to virtually any place in the world.

6.    Protect your passwords.

Teach your kids how to create a unique password, not using predictable data such as birthdays. Make sure that you have a copy of this password at all times. It’s always advised to change passwords regularly in order to stay safe online, and that means having to use a unique password for each site or account.

7.    Understand the dangers of free public Wi-Fi.

Cafes, shops, and even schools often offer unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Users need to be especially cautious when connecting to these networks as hackers can easily position themselves as a Wi-Fi hotspot or use special software to steal data from unprotected networks. One of the best ways to safely use public Wi-Fi is by installing a VPN.

8.    Educate children and teens about cyber-bullying.

Forty-two per cent of teens with access to Internet say they have been victims of cyber-bullying. Besides not sharing their private information online, kids should be taught basic tactics for dealing with a cyber-bully. That includes not responding to bullying messages, blocking the bully and reporting the incident. Schools should have systems in place that allow easy and efficient cyber-bullying reporting.

Want more on technology? Check out www.familytimes.co.nz/age-give-child-mobile-phone.