Parents need to know how to keep their children safe online during the holidays.
With the summer holiday period fast approaching, children in Australia will likely be spending more time online.
Ronald Yii, technical operations director, F-Secure, said, “The more time a child spends on the internet, the greater the chances the child will come across some type of online threat. It could be something as simple and relatively benign as a website harvesting personal information or a low-grade malware. It could also be a serious threat such as a digital conversation in a chat room with a stranger grooming the child or an attack by a malicious application designed to prevent further access to personal documents, including photos unless payment is made to a third party”.
While it is not realistic these days to simply ban a child from using connected devices, there are five key things families need to remember to reduce the risks of online threats over the summer holidays:
1. Set limits
As a start, setting limits is an effective way to make sure children don’t spend too much time on their digital devices during the holidays. Limiting which sites children are allowed to visit, and what sort of information can or can’t be shared online, can also help protect children.
2. Act as you would in the real world
Online behaviour is often very different to how a child would behave in real life. To avoid problems arising from bad behaviour online it is important to remind children that how they act in person shouldn’t be any different when online. This will help avoid issues arising from everything from cyberbullying to strangers online.
3. Be wary at all times
On the internet, anyone can pretend to be someone else. Most children, especially gamers, will employ some form of online identity to say and do things without anybody knowing their true identities. This may be relatively innocent, but there are others online that have an ulterior motive. Being wary at all times will help children spot suspicious activity online and learn to avoid it.
4. Discuss appropriate web activity
Even when children are at home, it’s almost impossible for parents to track their activities online. Children having increasing access to a large number of internet-enabled mobile devices makes tracking even more difficult. It’s important that parents build on what is learnt at school about appropriate and safe online behaviour, with regular open discussions with their children at home.
5. Make it okay to tell a parent
It’s vital to make sure that children feel comfortable talking with a parent about what they’ve been doing, and would like to do on the internet. This way, parents can carefully guide and advise children, and keep them safe online.
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