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Cyber Security and Children

Posted on: 13th May 2020

As children are home schooled during lockdown, there is another hidden threat as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic – cybercrime. Chris Clement, Commercial Director for H&H Insurance Brokers, explores what you can do to ensure your family remains safe online at this time:

“As part of home education, it is inevitable that children have more constant access to their personal computers, tablets or mobile phones than usual. With usage increasing significantly, as do the associated risks.

“However child-friendly a device may look, they are still linked to the internet with all the inherent dangers.  So it’s extremely important for all parents and carers to consider prevention, protection as well as what happens if the worst happens and they download something they shouldn’t.”

The workplace helps to ensure that adults are familiar with the dangers online, for instance you will likely know to look out for suspicious emails and links, but your child may not be so aware. The internet is an unscrupulous place and often the content aimed at children is even more cleverly designed to hook them in.

If a child clicks that malicious link, it could infect their device with malware (a catch-all term for any type of malicious software including computer viruses). If they then connect their device to yours, your device may get infected. From there, you could bring your device into your workplace and connect it to your work systems, creating a widespread problem.  Chris adds:

“The best way to prevent this risk is to educate your children on the best ways to practice computer safety and ensure you have protection in place to mitigate the risks, and our checklist here is a good starting point.”

  • Establish the boundaries
    Draw an agreement up with your children outlining the rules, their input means they are more likely to follow it. This will detail what is safe and unsafe online. For example, iTunes, Amazon and Spotify would go in the safe list but anything else would need checking with an adult first.
  • Be involved
    Keep an active interest in your children’s online activity. Have a chat with them to establish what they do online and find out which sites they usually go on.
  • Take advantage of privacy settings
    If there are certain devices which you really don’t want your children to access, such as a work mobile, add a lock to these or take advantage of fingerprint, face recognition or retina security. For any device your children can access, work with the settings you have to make the device as safe as possible. It may require a little research on your part as IOS and Android require different treatments.
  • Put them in charge
    Once your child is comfortable with safe usage, equip them with the knowledge to make their own stand. Show them how to flag or report inappropriate content and teach them what actions to take if they’re faced with difficult content online.
  • Keep Checking Security
    Stay vigilant and regularly update virus protection software on devices. With digital space consistently growing and evolving, keep the conversation going with your children as even with all the right settings in place, something can still ‘slip through the net’ and the sooner it’s identified, the better.

Chris concludes: “All these measures will help you to keep your family secure online, however if something should go wrong, it’s important to have protection in place if you’re affected by a cyber-attack. Whether you’re self-employed and reliant on your family network and devices or if you’re a corporation concerned with cyber security, we can help you get covered against the risk of malware, data breaches and other criminal activity.”

For further information, Chris Clement can be contacted on 07527 908513 or email him direct to find out more.

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