How Early Should Kids Be Taught About Cybersecurity and Password Management?

More and more activities are done online. With many kids participating in virtual learning or using internet-enabled devices to communicate, kids must be aware of cybersecurity risks.

Cybersecurity is an essential topic to discuss with children. Data breaches happen every day, and some of the world’s biggest companies are not safe from cybercriminal attacks.

Kids are using devices that connect to Wi-Fi as early as three years old. As soon as they understand risks, they should be taught about cybersecurity and password management.

Cybersecurity on the Go

Kids are increasingly utilizing mobile devices than ever before, especially with technology for remote learning. Some kids might be old enough to have their own mobile devices and text friends or use social media apps but probably do not understand managing security on their devices.

As a parent, you want to make sure that any devices kids are using are safe and secure.

There are simple ways to ensure your kids are safe online, such as:

  • Making sure devices are always updated with the latest software
  • Having the most up to date security software on the device
  • Encouraging your kids to only use password-protected Wi-Fi
  • Having them ask for approval before downloading an app

It is essential to talk to your children about the information they are sharing on their mobile devices. They might not even know they are sharing vital information, such as their location. Therefore, it is crucial to monitor your kid’s devices to ensure that they have the proper security measures in place and apps that hide your child’s identity. Individual apps are specifically designed for parents that help keep track of them.

Securing Online Accounts

Depending on the age of your kids, they might already have an email account that required no parental guidance when signing up. There are many phishing emails out there that are designed to get people’s personal information or install malware. Suppose your child is old enough to have their own email address. In that case, it is essential to encourage your child to not click on suspicious links or open attachments that they receive from any unfamiliar addresses.

It is also vital for online accounts to have secure passwords. Many kids use their devices to play online games and connect with other people, so it is essential to protect your child’s online identity and talk to them about the risk of cybersecurity.

Oversharing and Cyber Theft

There are more than just online accounts that kids need to be aware of when it comes to cybersecurity, especially if you have older children with their own credit cards. If your child or teen is shopping online, they need to be taught about trusted websites to make sure they do not become fraud or identity theft victims.

Advise your kids not to save their credit information on a store’s website when shopping online or for any gaming purchases. Urge your kids never to provide their personal information online.

Child identity theft is a thing, and it is becoming more and more attractive to cybercriminals. Child identity theft allows criminals to open new lines of credit that could go unchecked for years. This could severely damage your child’s credit score when they are older and apply for school loans, buy a vehicle, or rent an apartment and are declined.

Avoiding Security Breaches at Home

You can do several things to reduce the risk of a data breach on your home network, especially if your children are using your Wi-Fi. Talk to your children about online safety and why cybersecurity is essential.

Depending on your child’s age, you can teach them the warning signs of a phishing scam, especially to look out for emails that include frequent grammatical errors, links that direct them to the wrong size, and asking for money or information.

Teach them to be cautious about how much information they should share online. It’s common for teens and kids to have various social media accounts, so they need to be aware of what they share online, keeping certain information confidential, and password protection.

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