Today’s younger generations have never known a world without smartphones, apps and mobile technologies, which may be why they find warnings about digital privacy tedious and boring. Yet they need a strong privacy skillset to ensure their digital safety and security while navigating today’s online world.
If you’re looking for fun, engaging ways to educate your children about privacy, we’ve got three suggestions to consider. These interactive activities can help kids strengthen their knowledge on basic cybersecurity practices, while giving you an activity to share on a rainy day.
Strengthening login credentials is one of the most important — and simplest — habits to put into practice. Using a 6-8 character password is no longer enough, as they can be cracked by a cybercriminal almost instantly. Plus, reusing the same password for multiple accounts is a serious cybersecurity risk.
Children need to understand that the more complicated and unique their passwords are, the safer their account is going to be. But how do you make password creation entertaining?
How about trying the Password Game, which can help teach kids of all ages how to invent stronger, more secure passwords? The goal is to create a password that meets the 35 criteria — or rules — set by the game. As you successfully meet one rule, another, more complicated one is introduced.
The game is a challenging puzzle you can solve together which can give your child an idea of how a strong password can be created.
By the way, if you get stuck at one of the stages, there are some useful tips here.
Over 90% of U.S. households have children that are active on social media. Social media is a great way for kids to interact and connect with their friends — but online fraudsters often use fake profiles to post inappropriate content, promote faulty links, or try and sell products through a faked or spoofed website.
Children need to understand how to spot a suspicious social media profile or post. Often, these can be recognized by:
To help reinforce these warning signs and learn others, you might play Spot the Troll, which is an online game from Clemson University’s Media Forensics Hub. The web-based game shows images of real social media content and asks players to determine if they’re looking at something from a legitimate account or an internet troll.
The S.M.A.R.T. acronym is an easy way to teach your kids basic rules to follow while online. Here’s what it stands for — and what kids should remember:
Oversharing online can expose information that the bad guys can use to commit fraud or identity theft. It is important to keep personal information safe and not share details such as home addresses, full names or login credentials.
They should never meet-up with someone they’ve met online, even if it is someone they think they know. If a stranger or online friend ever asks to meet in person, they should tell an adult as soon as possible.
Everyone should think twice before clicking on a suspicious file, email or link, as these could contain a malicious virus. Similarly, they should not accept a message or friend request from someone they don’t know.
Don’t believe everything that’s found online. There is a lot of misinformation on the internet, so teaching kids how to evaluate information, like with these tips from the Teen Fact-Checking Network from MediaWise, can help them think critically about what they read.
Over 45% of teenagers have experienced some kind of cyberbullying at least once in their life. If someone online makes them upset, or they notice strange or unkind activity happening to someone else, they should speak up and tell an adult.
To help your child internalize these rules, create a S.M.A.R.T. poster with them. They can incorporate their own designs and hang it in a common space to remind the family of these safe practices.
You can also take the S.M.A.R.T. Rules Quiz together to see how well they’ve learned how to protect themselves when they are online.
Getting kids enthused about safe online practices can be tough, but it’s critical that they understand the risks they’ll face in today’s digital world. These interactive activities can help kids be more aware of threats so they can stay ahead of the bad guys.