Over the last year, a handful of cyberattacks have made news headlines and affected families. High-tech toy maker Spiral Toys was the victim of a particularly cunning hacking scheme. The maker of CloudPets stuffed animals reportedly exposed more than two million private voice recordings and the login credentials of 800,000 accounts. While these “smart toys” are part of a wave of internet-connected devices providing fun and memorable experiences, they are also exposing millions of users to cyber threats. These toys may appear harmless on the surface, but their vulnerability to attack should be kept top-of-mind by any parent.
Educate your familyOne of the best ways to ensure your children maintain a safe online presence is to start the conversation around the potential risks they face in our increasingly connected world early on. When it comes to online safety, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommends looking for “teachable moments” that arise naturally during day-to-day computer use. For example, if you get a phishing message, show it to your kids so they can identify similar messages in the future and recognize they are not always what they seem. BBC reported that “children aged five to 16 spend an average of six and a half hours a day in front of a screen compared with around three hours in 1995, according to market research firm Childwise.” With the amount of time kids and teens spend in front of a computer screen daily, and with hacking and cybercriminals becoming more advanced and sophisticated, it’s more important than ever to teach kids how to be cyber savvy.
One of the best ways to ensure your children maintain a safe online presence is to start the conversation around the potential risks they face in our increasingly connected world early on.
Tips for your cyber savvy kidsIn addition to using tools like Webroot’s Parental Controls, CISO Gary Hayslip summarizes a few safety tips:
- Don’t give out financial account numbers, Social Security numbers, or other personal identity information unless you know exactly who’s receiving it.
- Remember to also protect other people’s information as you would your own.
- Never send personal or confidential information via email or instant messages as these can be easily intercepted.