It Takes a Cyber Savvy Village to Raise…Well, a “Cyber Savvy Village”
October 17, 2018
Contributed by Herjavec Group Senior Security Consultant, David Mundhenk
The theme for week 3 of Cybersecurity Awareness Month is ‘It’s Everyone’s Job to Ensure Online Safety at Work’. However, I firmly believe that ensuring online safety at work often starts in the home. With Halloween just around the corner, it’s a great time to remind ourselves that there are scary things lurking around in the darkest recesses of the Internet… and they can have risky consequences for ourselves and our kids.
It’s time that parents, teachers, and school administrators combine their efforts to enhance online protection for children. Those entrusted with ensuring the cyber safety of our kids must understand that power, and be held accountable. Last year the team at Herjavec Group published an article focused on protecting children as they explore technology and cyber space. It included recommendations on how to start the discussion about cybersecurity with kids. Since then, new information and technology resources have become available, including an initiative undertaken by U.S. Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Justice to help educate children about bullying (especially cyber bullying), known as National Bullying Prevention Month.
“When adults respond quickly and consistently to bullying behavior, they send the message that it is not acceptable. Research shows this can stop bullying behavior over time. Parents, school staff, and other adults in the community can help kids prevent bullying by talking about it, building a safe school environment, and creating a community-wide bullying prevention strategy.”
One common misconception is that cyber bullying is limited to negative messages online. Cyber bullying also encompasses impersonating someone else to conduct negative behavior online or cyber stalking an individual using information found on social media and other websites. As such, it’s important to teach kids the importance of good cyber hygiene. Reinforce that they should:
- Choose strong (and different) passwords for their social media accounts,
- Not geo-tag their locations in real time, and
- Delete any accounts they are no longer using
While these three tactics may help prevent impersonation, account hacking and reduce cyber bullying, it is very important to start teaching kids about cybersecurity from an early age. A good example of this is the Girl Scouts introduction of a cybersecurity merit badge and other STEM-related training worthy of recognition. Doing so not only helps to educate young girls about computer security but also encourages them to consider a future career in science and technology.
While this information sampling represents great progress, it is also worth noting that there are many others within the cyber village who may also be in need of enhanced cybersecurity assistance such as parents and grandparents.
In the physical world, we see neighbors band to enhance their community’s security & safety through neighborhood watch programs. It’s time we call for the same initiative in the digital sphere. Cyber neighbors have to share knowledge, drive cyber awareness conversations and remain committed to educating our young people about how to protect themselves online. After all, it takes a cyber savvy village to raise…well, a cyber savvy village.