5 security tips for parents sending kids back to school

28 Aug 2015

As kids all across Ireland return to their schools – or start in new ones – there may be some trepidation amongst anxious parents. Here are five tips to help keep youngsters safe in an increasingly online world.

Stocked with smartphones, social media accounts and growing ways to share information digitally, schoolkids are open to an increasing amount of risks nowadays.

ESET Ireland has looked at this, coming up with top tips for both parents and teachers to encourage a healthier online environment.

Future Human

Citing challenges like offensive online content, malware, phishing scams, social media use and grooming, the suggestions are sensible, achievable goals.

“While our young ones are the ones actually going back to school, parents and teachers are also going to have to make the grade in certain subjects over the course of this new semester,” said Urban Schrott, IT security and cybercrime analyst with ESET.

“Being aware of the full extent of technology’s reach and the risks that come with using it badly are the first steps in ensuring that children and teenagers can enjoy the benefits of technology in a safe manner.”

Five simple steps

Initially, the security experts suggest parents and teachers get up to speed with the technology their children and students are using as, without this knowledge, you’ll struggle to understand the pros and cons.

Once you can handle that, then these five steps are recommended:

  • The most important point is to create a space in which to talk about threats and habits online. To do this, parents and teachers need to understand the threats and explain to children in what ways they could be in danger.
  • We also have to remember that we are responsible for what we upload to the internet and that the moment we post a photo or video, we lose control of the material and have no way of knowing how it might be used.
  • We have to be careful with the types of information we post online. Details like our home address and telephone numbers should not be shared on social networks.
  • The internet makes it easier for people to be anonymous, so we can’t know with absolute certainty who is on the other side of the social network, unless it’s someone we know in real life. For these reasons, we have to be very careful with messages from people we don’t know who try to contact us via social networks.
  • Have a security solution, including an antivirus software, social network monitoring and a firewall for all your equipment. It’s important to emphasise that desktop computers are not the only equipment that needs to be protected, as devices like smartphones and tablets also can be targets for attack.

Main image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic