With students likely spending a lot more time online and in front of a screen this year, it’s important to always keep safety in mind.
Not only are cyber threats a potential risk to your child’s schoolwork, but also to every other family member that is working, shopping, or learning through a shared Wi-Fi network.
Matthew Newfield, Chief Information Security Officer for Unisys, has a few online safety tips to keep yourself and your family safe.
- Look for software support. If a parent is unable to fully supervise a child while they’re doing school work, there is “nanny software” that people can invest in that helps monitor what their families are doing. This software can be used as a lesson to teach kids what websites are or are not appropriate as well as provide a regular report on a child’s online activity.
- Separate work from play. When using laptops, tablets, and phones, if you are able to get and provide your child with a personal computer that’s not given by the school, one of the first things you need to explain as a parent is that this is your work system. This is not your play system and you need to use it for school only.
- Talk to your children about cyber safety. It’s important to build trust so that if your child is concerned about something they see on the internet, they can ask you without fear of reprisal. Help them understand the dangers that can come with being on the web, and don’t be afraid to ask them if they’ve come across anything out of the ordinary online.
- Verify all hyperlinks. If you have doubts, look at the domain in the URL and use online search engines to verify it independently. Before clicking links that are sent to you, hover over the link with your mouse arrow and ensure it is taking you to the intended website.
- Secure your hardware. Make sure you are protecting your Wi-Fi network and devices around the house by patching and updating to the latest firmware and checking the brand and model for security risks. It is also important to change default passwords and use passwords of significant strength (greater than eight characters with three of the following four (upper case, lower case, number, special character). Do not use words or deviations of words as passwords.
Hopefully these online safety tips will create a safe environment to protect your household from cyber risks!