The internet is a great convenience in our daily lives but, as with most things in life, with the benefits comes drawbacks. Spending time online, whether for school, work, or leisure, does have safety risks. Here are five internet security tips to help keep your family safe.
1. Secure Your Home Wi-Fi Network
Wi-Fi offers the freedom to connect online, but it also means you can’t always keep an eye on your kids and opens up risks associated with hacking. You’ll want to secure your Wi-Fi to keep out intruders who might illegally use your bandwidth or compromise your family’s internet security through malware attacks. Secure your Wi-Fi by using a strong password, use a firewall, enable wireless encryption (WPA2), turn off network broadcasting, and keep your router’s firmware up to date.
2. Teach Kids How to Socialize Online Safely
Today’s kids are digital natives and don’t remember a world without the internet. As a result, they may tend to share way too much information. It’s important to teach them “old school” rules with a modern twist.
- Be careful of “stranger danger” and be mindful of sharing personal information, including their birthdays.
- Never share their location and be careful of sharing photos with school identifiers, etc.
- Ensure they use nicknames and fun avatars rather than real names and photos.
- To never “check-in” to public places from phones.
It’s also a good idea to use parental controls to restrict your children’s movement online. You can also restrict internet availability between certain hours of the day.
3. Carefully Read Online Privacy Policies
Websites, including social networks, often require you to provide basic information from you to create an account or use their sites. All of them have privacy policies and are typically designed in their favor.
Understand website terms and conditions before agreeing so you know how they plan to use your personal information. It’s common for websites to sell your personal information which is why many people opt to purchase internet privacy solutions to better protect themselves.
4. Teach Everyone About Scams and Safe Computing
Online scams have unfortunately become a persistent problem with cybercriminals consistently launching new types of attacks.
- Be sure you and your family members understand the dangers associated with phishing, spoofing, and, increasingly, ransomware.
- Don’t click on links that come in email, text, or social media posts.
- Never download software without thoroughly vetting it, especially free apps, music, and movies. (Many software programs and apps contain malware or have online privacy issues.)
Additionally, be mindful of entering personal information into websites, make sure URLs start with “HTTPS” (not “HTTP”), and look for the small padlock prefacing the URL.
5. Use Protective Strategies
One of the best ways to protect your family online is to use protective strategies.
- Install security software and a firewall
- Use strong, unique passwords for every website and account (never use names, birthdays, SSNs, or other personal information)
- Keep software and firmware up to date
Additionally, learn to recognize common phishing and social engineering techniques.
Want to learn more about how to better protect your family online? Follow these seven simple steps to online privacy.