We live in a world full of technology and, for many of us, our children understand it better than we do. While there are many justifiable reasons why access to the internet, apps and having a cell phone close is a necessity in our day to day lives, the real question is: Do we fully understand the dark side of technology and the risk it poses to the safety of our children?
Craig Austen, Secure Rite CEO adds: “We’ve been in the security industry for many years and part of what we offer are preventative and reactive solutions to possible crime events. It’s no secret that crime events change often. There’s always a new trend here and there and we pride our business on staying on top of these as far as we can. However, crime risk has grown and evolved significantly over the last few years … but this time it’s also growing inside our homes and that is a scary thought”.
While we enjoy social media, that new game, or that fun new app, are we paying close enough attention to our vulnerabilities online? Cybercrime is a reality. Some cyber criminals choose public channels such as social media, apps and direct messaging to conduct their ‘business’.
Wondering what kinds of crime happens online? Here is a list of some of the most popular forms of cybercrime:
- ransomware attacks
- malware attacks
- crypto mining, cryptojacking, and other digital currency scams
- identity theft, or impersonating another person or company
- stealing, leaking or manipulating data, information, or intellectual property
- violating privacy
- child exploitation
- human and sex trafficking
- selling weapons or drugs online.
As parents, it is our responsibility to get better educated about online risks. The truth is that our children are exposed to online activity far more than we as parents are. They socialise in online games, social media and apps just as they would on a playground. They live largely in a digital community. But like any community, there are risks and dangers. It is therefore vital to set clear safety practices for this growing digital world.
Here are 10 vital safety rules to help us reduce the risk of cybercrime on our children:
- Don’t give anyone your password, name, address, the name of your school or any information about your family
- Don’t talk to strangers on the Internet (stranger danger still applies)
- Don’t agree to meet anyone in person that you’ve met online
- Don’t fill in a profile that asks for your name and address
- Don’t visit a chat room without an adult’s / parent’s permission
- Don’t stay online if you see something you think your parents won’t like
- Be aware of what images you are posting of yourself. Parents – Make sure you stay close to this.
- Do not download or install anything on your computer or phone without permission. Remember Not all apps are safe.
- If you have any questions about something you read, ask your parent or guardian.
- Parents, create a safe place for questions without judgement or ‘freaking out’ ( as our kids will say). Communicate openly and ensure a conversation revisit to the topic of ‘online risks’ as often as possible.
At Secure Rite, we know that crime as a whole is an unfortunate reality that we all deal with on a daily basis. As a family run business with many moms and dads who put their lives on the line every day to protect this community, we believe that it’s so important to identify all risks to our safety, not just the ones we can see.
We encourage families to set healthy online routines that reduce cybercrime risk but more importantly, that reduces the overall growing dependency we have to be active in this all-consuming digital world.
Here are some healthy routine ideas from the Secure Rite Family:
- Proactively limit the amount of time spent on the phone. Put this in place for the whole family – this includes you, mom and dad!
- Experts suggest no screens for at least one hour before bedtime, so consider having your child turn in their phone in the evening. A top tip is to remove phones at night to minimise the temptation.
- Create a distraction-free homework time where cell phones are put away.
- Consider phone-free meals or family times during the day to promote communication and relationship building outside the digital world.
- Make sure you are able to track your children’s digital footprints. Which apps do they use, what social media channels do they use and where do they spend most of their time online?
As the digital world grows, so must our curiosity and need to understand it better. Contact Secure Rite for all your home, business and personal security needs. Remember, we do security, you do life.