Back-to-school online security checklist

By | Published On: 31 August 2022 | 3.3 min read |

The first day of school is right around the corner. While some parents may be jumping for joy, others may be a little nervous.  No matter which emotion you feel, looking after your family’s online security should still be a priority. 

Here’s what you can do to to stay safe this school year.

1. Set up new passwords

Back-to-school season is a good time to update passwords, since students often log in to the same learning tools they use at home and on campus. It’s important to teach kids the basics of password hygiene, including keeping passwords in a safe place and regularly changing them.

The best way for your children to keep hackers from accessing their accounts at gaming and social media sites? Teach them the importance of strong passwords.

Hackers can crack simple passwords easily. Tell your children to use passwords that include a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters, symbols, and numbers. These complex passwords are far more difficult for hackers to crack.

2. Check your devices’ privacy settings

Whether you have a preschooler who uses the family tablet to watch videos or a kid who’s finally ready for a phone, make sure to set up these devices with data privacy in mind. Figure out – together, if possible – which information they’re sharing with the apps they use.

3. Update your security software

As always, the first step in keeping children’s laptops and other devices safe from malware is to make sure these devices are protected by security software. This is the best tool to prevent your children from accidentally downloading malware or spyware on their computers.

Be especially vigilant, though, if your children are using their own or your devices when completing homework assignments after school. Make sure you’ve installed this important software on the devices in your home.

4. Turn on automatic security updates

Cybercriminals are constantly adjusting their malware and spyware attacks. Fortunately, so are the makers of security software. That’s why it’s important to turn on the automatic update feature on the antivirus software installed on any of the devices your children use during the school year.

Doing this will make sure that this software is updated with the latest protection. Updates often specifically protect devices against the most recently discovered viruses.

5. Educate your kids about phishing

 Adults aren’t the only ones who fall for these scams—so do teens and tweens. Children are more likely to fall for phishing scams when they’re increasing their time online, which for many might be during the school year.

In a typical phishing scam, con artists will send an email claiming to be from a bank, credit card provider, or service provider such as Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu. The email, which looks legitimate, might claim that these financial institutions or banks have detected unusual activity on the accounts of victims.

Or they might state that victims need to update their accounts to avoid having them closed. In most cases, the emails will include a link that victims must click.

Kids are more likely to fall for phishing scams that appear to come from video game providers or retailers. They might quickly provide their own or their parents’ credit card information, for example, to what they think is a video game company threatening to shut down their gaming accounts.

Inform your children on how phishing scams work. And remind them to never respond to any email asking for personal or financial information. Instead, you should instruct your children to show any such emails to you.

The start of the school year can be exciting and frightening for both you and your child.  Reducing the risk of online security issues by preparation and education can help ease those nerves and make sure the year ahead is not spoilt by hackers.

And if you need help or advice please contact Security Everywhere for all your cyber security needs.

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