With children of all ages spending many of their waking hours on phones, tablets, and computers these days, it’s no wonder that parents across the world are worried about who might come across their family’s personal information.

As well, in this digital age there are more hackers than ever, with increasingly clever and complex ways to hack into computer systems and obtain data, ransom information, or crash systems. As a result, it’s important for parents to teach their children how to be as safe as possible online. Read on for some tips you can follow today.

Use Software to Protect Devices from Hackers

The first thing you should do to protect your family’s sensitive information is install software on all devices used. There are many different products you can purchase which will provide maximum security for an affordable cost.

When selecting software, look for those options which provide antivirus, anti-spam, anti-malware and anti-spyware protection. As well, keep an eye out for products that will cover ransomware removal too, as ransomware (a type of malicious software which blocks a person’s access to their computer system until a sum of money is paid), is on the rise.

Comprehensive security software will:

  • Maintain user privacy when online
  • Protect against data-theft and identity-theft applications
  • Keep passwords and other online information safe
  • Block dangerous emails, attachments, and websites

Firewalls are another way to protect your children’s details online. Firewalls are designed to act as the first line of defense against hackers when they try to get into your networks and systems. The security devices work to filter out potential threats from the secure, credible information that comes into systems when people are online browsing or downloading data.

If you check your family’s computers, you’ll typically find that the devices already have firewalls installed on them, although they may not have been activated as yet. Check the settings to turn them on if they’re not currently working. Keep in mind too that you can purchase additional, more secure, third-party firewalls which are harder for digital thieves to crack.

Don’t forget too that, whichever software you make use of, it won’t work at its best if you don’t keep it updated. Most software designers improve their products annually, if not more often, to fix any security bugs or gaps that have arisen over time. As such, it is important that you schedule updates to run as soon as they’re available so that your family’s computer systems will be optimally protected at all times.

Ensure Proper Passwords Are Installed on All Gadgets

Next, make sure that your children also use proper passwords on their phones, tablets, and other internet-enabled gadgets. This will help to stop hackers from gaining access to their information, particularly if any devices are lost or stolen.

It is important to teach your children how to choose the right kinds of passwords too. The codes they use must be at least eight characters long (between eight and 12 is best), and contain a mixture of upper-case letters, lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols, as this makes them harder to crack. Children need to avoid simple, easy-to-guess passwords such as their name, birth date, pet’s names, family members’ names, or simple codes like “password” or “123456”.

Educate Children

It also pays to educate your children on some of the most common scams hackers and other cybercriminals use to gain access to data. While there are many different things to be aware of, start by teaching your children never to open email attachments from people they don’t know, and to be very careful about which links they click on in both emails and website pages.

A regular tactic used by digital thieves is “clickjacking.” This is particularly popular on social media sites (where children often spend a lot of time), and involves hackers posting sensational headlines with links going supposedly to a page where the juicy “news” item will be explained in more detail. These posts are, however, fake, and are used to generate interest so that people will click on a link that has malicious code embedded in it.

“Pharming” is another common scam. This term refers to a phishing attack whereby scammers put up links to popular, familiar websites (such as banks, social media pages, news sites and top blogs) that are actually fake versions of the sites. On the spoofed sites, browsers will be asked to enter their login information or other personal details.

If this data is entered, cybercriminals will have the chance to steal the person’s information and hijack their accounts. Parents should teach their children, then, to only ever directly type in the URL of sites they want to visit, rather than clicking through via links.

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