Sometimes we get so focused on protecting our IT infrastructures, we forget that our families are just as susceptible.
Whether it’s your daughter posting a harmless selfie with geotagging or your son going to a questionable website that someone named “Kitty” sent to him on Twitter, it makes you want to scream. It’s not enough to try and secure the environments; it’s the social engineering tricks that get around it.
I’m honestly overwhelmed by it all trying to protect everyone, but I can’t be everywhere all the time. What’s my solution? I try and teach them how to protect themselves while keeping a watchful eye.
With the smartphone, gone are the days where you could set a computer in the family room and just walk by periodically to check on things to make sure everyone was safe online. Our kids live in a world that was only seen in my time in the likes of Star Trek. They carry devices with them that open up great swaths of information and entertainment but also open them to great perils online.
My kids are now old enough to use social media. I’ve fought it for years trying to keep them offline, but I knew it was inevitable one day.
During the time they had to wait, we spent a lot of time talking about their friends and what had happened to them online. We discussed the girl who sent inappropriate pictures and how she can never get those back; we talked about stalkers that can act as friends and the dangers of sharing any information about who you are or where you live. We discussed when online people pretend to be anything and anyone with the mindset that everyone you don’t know directly must be a fraud.
I’m glad to say my kids approach things online with a certain skepticism.
So, what are some things you can do to keep track and help protect your kids?
- Most importantly, talk about the dangers of online and social media.
- Monitor what they’re doing. I have access to their phones and tablets. You can do things like adding yourself to the fingerprint reader on the iPhone to get access.
- Take up the devices at night. I’ve known some people to have everyone put their devices on the charger at 7pm or before bed.
- Get on the same social media your kids are using and follow them.
- Set up two email addresses, one for their accounts like Google Play, iTunes, etc. and one for sharing with friends and signing up.
- Teach them about secure passwords and how to NEVER share it with others. Two Factor Authentication isn’t a bad idea, either.
- Turn off Geotagging for camera and photo apps.
- Make their online account private and monitor them to see who is interacting with them.
- Explain things like phishing and how to recognize it, just like you do with employees.
- Start slow and let them grow in social media; don’t open the flood gates all at once.
I know there is a lot more that can be done. It’s just something I hope you find useful and can build upon.
Until next time.