An Internet Safety Checklist for Families With Young Kids

internet safety

As an adult who grew up with internet-connected technology, you intuitively understand the risks of being online. You know the importance of strong passwords, the indications of compromised websites and the best ways to avoid malware. You probably have avoided cyberattacks for years with basic antivirus solutions on your devices.

However, now that you are a parent, you need to take a few extra precautions to keep your family safe from malware and other digital threats. The sooner you integrate cybersecurity into your everyday family life, the more secure your home network and devices are likely to be. Without further ado, here is a checklist to help you cover all your family’s digital security needs.

Install Comprehensive Security

You can’t watch over your kids’ shoulders every time they use a connected device. Therefore, you need to know that your home network is protected with premium internet security, which should boast comprehensive features that keep you, your little ones, your devices and your data safe. Your security suite should have parental controls that allow you to determine what kinds of online content are accessible and when. It should also have features like:

  • Password manager
  • Virtual private network
  • Mobile security
  • Dark web monitoring
  • Helpdesk support

Though your young kids might not make much use of these features right now, you will benefit from these additional protections, and eventually, your teens will need more advanced security for mobile devices, identity theft protection and more.

Draft Strong Passwords

Though little kids might struggle to remember long, complicated passwords to shared accounts, it is better that families utilize strong passwords that keep their accounts safe. You might install a password manager to assist little ones in accessing the accounts they need without dumbing down login credentials and compromising security.

Teach Online Stranger Danger

Your kids probably have some sense of stranger danger, recognizing that not all friendly strangers can be trusted to keep them safe. However, that sense doesn’t always carry over into digital spaces, where online scammers can easily trick little ones into revealing sensitive information that threatens their safety.

You should help your kids recognize that online strangers are dangerous, even if they seem nice. More importantly, you should try to maintain open conversations with your kids about their online activities, so if they do start developing a relationship with an online stranger, you can investigate yourself.

Make Rules for Social Media

Social media is new and exciting — but it is also proving to be detrimental to users in important ways. New research is revealing that high levels of social media use amongst kids lead to higher rates of mental disorders like depression, anxiety, addiction and misperception of body image.

Additionally, social media is a popular hunting ground for internet scammers, who can easily identify and exploit young children. You might prohibit your young kids from using social media, and as they get older, you should make rules regarding social media use clear and firm.

Read Privacy Policies

Privacy policies and terms of service are so commonplace that you might not even see them anymore, but you should break that habit and get used to engaging with the text of these online contracts.

Reading the fine print, you will find out how different websites will use your data, which will help you determine which websites you are willing to provide information to and which are likely security risks. Performing this kind of task with your kids will help them recognize the importance of data security and develop stronger data security consciousness.

Back up Data

Even with all these precautions, accidents are bound to happen. Until your little one gains the innate sense of cyber hygiene that you have developed over their lifetime, they are more likely to interact with corrupt and compromised links, websites, message attachments and more, which means your devices and network are more likely to suffer a cyberattack.

To make recovery from the attack simpler and easier, you should have an automated system for backing up your data to a secure cloud. You should still talk to your kids about the mistakes that led to the attack to prevent future missteps, but there should be no need for fear when you have recent backups to rely on.

Your kids were born into a world filled with tech, but they don’t yet know how to use that tech with safety and security in mind. By using this checklist and talking to your little ones about online threats, you can raise tech-savvy, security-conscious humans.