October 27, 2017

It Takes a Cyber Village to Raise a Savvy Cyber Kid

Not only is October known as Cyber Security Awareness Month but it is also the month that includes Halloween. As such, it is a great time to remind our kids that there are scary things lurking around in the darkest corners of the Internet which can have some far-reaching, often risky consequences.

Today’s kids are more technologically astute than ever, and in some instances may be even more proficient in using smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc., than their parents. Today’s kids are also quite sophisticated in their use of online social media and networking. A child or teenager’s burning curiosity to understand and master new technology, however, often comes in hand-in-glove with genuine naiveté about life and tendency to trust people they’ve never met.

Parents should become very proactively involved with their children regarding the use of such technologies. It is very important that parents and other responsible parties educate themselves and develop their own technological proficiencies. Doing so will help to enhance parental oversight and enable a more proactive response to possible cyber incidents involving a child. Parents should also consider having regular discussions with their children about technology benefits and pitfalls. Such discussions will help to foster a sense of cyber situational awareness across the whole family.

Being technologically proficient will not only enable parents to keep their children safe from digital threats but it may also mean being able to protect their own personal and corporate data. With the significant rise in the use of IoT devices, there can be a lot of cross-pollination of data and networks between the home and corporate environments. Simply put, if hackers are able to take advantage of your children’s devices due to a lack of security awareness, your data and devices may be at risk as well.

Here are a few recommendations for topics to help get this discussion going with children:

  1. Talk with them about ‘trust’ and why it is important to be very discretionary in their trusting of others, especially those they have never met in person.
  2. Teach children to know and understand that the Internet is ‘forever’, and that once something is released into cyber space it can never be rescinded.
  3. Let children know that the family’s personal and private information is very important, and it should never be divulged online or via other media.
  4. Teach children about the dangers of malware and why it is important to make sure antivirus personal firewall and other software is never disabled on the devices they use.
  5. Teach children about good password security best practices. Teach them not to use pet names, favorite TV show, favorite color, etc., for passwords and tell them to change their passwords often.
  6. Teach children to know that there are some not so nice places on the Internet, and even though they might be reachable under some circumstances, they still shouldn’t go there. Teach them about the concepts around ‘safe-surfing’.
  7. Teach children that if something unexpected or scary happens with their technology use, tell a parent or teacher immediately.

Fortunately, there are a myriad of online resources available online to help parents, grandparents, and teachers instill a sense of caution and safety in the children they are responsible to protect.

Here are some of them:

October and Halloween are both fun and scary, just like cyber space. Cyber Security Awareness Month is a great time to for parents and other child caregivers to talk about cyber safety. There’s a saying that a rising tide floats all boats. It also takes a cyber village to help raise savvy cyber kids.

Get Involved

Herjavec Group is proud to be a NCSAM Champion and we want to know: what steps are you taking to make sure you stay cyber safe?

Join in the discussion by using #cyberaware to engage with us on social media!


About Herjavec Group

Dynamic IT entrepreneur Robert Herjavec founded Herjavec Group in 2003 to provide cybersecurity products and services to enterprise organizations. Herjavec Group delivers SOC 2 Type 2 certified managed security services supported by state-of-the-art, PCI compliant, Security Operations Centers, operated 24/7/365 by certified security professionals. This expertise is coupled with leadership positions across a wide range of functions including consulting, professional services & incident response. Herjavec Group has offices globally including across the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. For more information, visit www.herjavecgroup.com.

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