Fact: modern families are becoming more and more connected…to the internet that is. Our kids are perpetually glued to their devices (computer games, Pokémon Go and apps like Snapchat on their phones). And as parents, we’re also guilty of spending too much time staring at our laptops and phones.
So what are the perils of all this increased internet activity? Ahead of National Cyber Security Awareness Month in October, it’s time to take a moment and discuss the risks of being “connected families” and what we can do to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
First, as parents, we need to acknowledge that cybercriminals are targeting private data via our family’s devices (hello, Yahoo! breach). They’re looking for personal identification info, financial details, and any sensitive information that can be sold for profit. Scary thought, we know. So what can we do?
The easiest way to help keep your family’s data private and safe online is to secure all of your connected devices. One easy option is to get a comprehensive AV product, like AVG Ultimate which gives you peace of mind against viruses, malware, and hackers and lets you protect your whole family, no matter how many devices they’ve got or what kind they are. Better still, you can do all this from a single dashboard. And if something on one of their devices needs your attention, you can update it right from your own.Other ways to stay worry-free, digitally:
- Online shopping: as busy parents, the new norm for buying the things you need is to log onto Amazon Pantry and order your groceries, or go to Zappos.com for your kids’ holiday shopping. But hack after hack shows us that the info we share with retailers isn’t necessarily safe. Make sure you have an AV program like AVG Internet Security which blocks hackers so you can shop protected and helps keep your data safe by encrypting and password-protecting private files to stop scammers.
- Public v. private: set clear guidelines with your kids about what is OK information to share publicly and what isn’t (for example: personal contact or identification information, current location and financial details should be kept private). In a world where those lines are often blurred, it’s important that kids get a framework from their parents about is safe and not safe to share.
- Beware public Wi-Fi: public networks can make our data vulnerable to cybercriminals using sniffing tools to steal financial information or personal identification data. Talk to your kids about being cautious on public Wi-Fi and consider using a VPN (Virtual Private Network, like HMA!), which makes the job of hackers tougher by creating an encrypted tunnel for your data to travel through safely. Using VPN is one way to ensure that details such as location and other personal information stay private.
It’s still unclear what all of this “connectivity” will mean for family life, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have peace of mind as we move into the super-connected age. Make sure you’re talking regularly with your children about their online activity and get educated on the topics of cybersecurity and digital safety so you’re equipped to make the best decisions for your family (for more tips on how to keep the whole family safe, visit AVG Now).