For ParentsFor Teachers

4 Ways to Protect Your Kids from Cybercriminals

LynetteOwens_Trend_bw_editby Lynette Owens

The original article appeared in the Huffington Post on October 5, 2016.

Kids know the internet as a wonder-filled place where their cyberspace adventures are only limited by imagination. As parents, however, we know better. The Internet does have its faults. Cybercriminals, malware viruses, phishing and even social engineering attacks can, and often do, happen. Any adult who has spent a decent amount of time online has most likely been exposed to or compromised by – if not one – multiples of these. And we’re the adults. So, how do we protect our kids?

Discussing online safety at an early age and establishing guidelines go a long way. While safe browsing habits may seem self-evident, there’s a lot your child will not know. Here are four key areas that will help steer our kids away from cybercriminal traps.

1. Mobile apps. Mobile devices are quite literally child’s play. Toddlers are now swiping and tapping like pros. As kids get older they want to download the same games and apps their friends are playing and using. With their enormous popularity and millions now available, cybercriminals have found an easy way to get into your smartphone and tablet. Fooling people with false versions of popular [and legitimate] apps is now commonplace. It’s tough to tell which are fake because they are disguised so well. Oftentimes, the imposters are designed to fool you into entering personal information or downloading malicious software onto your phone [which could steal your information].

Tip: Set up controls so a password is required before your kids can download an app. This would trigger a conversation between you and your kids about an app before they start using it. And, do your research. Stick to apps made by companies you know, are publicly popular or look them up online before downloading. Don’t allow apps to automatically connect to your data – such as physical location or contact lists – if there’s no reason to do so. Also, using a mobile security app that scans and alerts you of apps that are false or are stealing information they shouldn’t have access to. (There are many options out there, including these from Trend Micro.)

Read the complete post on the Huffington Post here.


Lynette Owens is the Founder and Global Director of Trend Micro’s Internet Safety for Kids and Families program.  With 20+ years in the tech industry, Lynette speaks and blogs regularly on how to help kids become great digital citizens.  She works with communities and 1:1 school districts across the U.S. and around the world to support digital literacy and citizenship education.  She is a board member of the National Association of Media Literacy Education and SPARK Kindness, and serves on the advisory boards of INHOPE and U.S. Safer Internet Day.

Follow her on Twitter @lynettetowens


Tags :advertisingappscybercrimedigital citizenshipdigital literacyeducationinternet safetykidsmobileonline privacyonline safetyparentssearch enginessocial networkingteens

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