Below I will talk about 3 main ways children can stay safe online. First, children should be taught that they should not talk to strangers and provide too much information online either to strangers or friends, they should learn that there are people that specifically seek to harm children online, and that they need to not download anything that contains FREE software, music, videos, games, books.
Your sons and daughters need to be made aware that people are not always who they claim to be online, and that they should not talk to strangers online. These strangers may appear to be friendly but because they are unknown they should not be trusted. Your children should learn that the internet is no replacement for a diary or a confession, information that is too personal or private, should not be shared online with anyone. This information cannot generally be erased from the internet and later can be used to harm them, to deny them a job, or a college admission to the school of their choice.
Children should learn that not everyone is good, honest or trustworthy and that unfortunately the internet can be used both for good and evil. That a large percentage of online activity is malicious in nature, either involving unethical, illegal activity and that many times this is perpetuated by organized crime or specific individuals that want to harm children. They should be taught That these persons try to befriend children online trying to pretend that they are children in the same school etc. and to buy them gifts, but that eventually they will try to take advantage and hurt them.
The best way to deal with these folks is to avoid them altogether. In fact, that is one of the best ways of dealing with risk. You can either insure against it, mitigate it, set up compensating controls, or avoid it altogether. Since you can’t control always who is targeting your children, avoiding the risk means that once a stranger engages them online, your sons or daughters should immediately disconnect and cease all communications and block that person. Teach them that an ounce of cure is worth more than a pound of protection. Some people are so dangerous that they should not even try to talk to them.
“FREE” always comes with a price. Teach your sons or daughters that FREE movies, games, videos, music, apps come with Free and hidden malware that can ruin their computer forcing you as the parent to have to wipe or reimage the machine which means they will lose all their data or information, since once the computer is contaminated all files on it are considered suspect.
Moreover, they should learn that free means that they are stealing from someone. That these artists that create this content, or software have families too and that if we steal their music or games or software we are robbing them and their families. Other children are suffering if they steal music by downloading it for free on a pirate site.
It’s critical to lead by example. As parent’s especially if you work in IT and most especially in the field of cyber security, set the example for your children and family-set the tone, and the conversation, led by your example of integrity they will learn ethics in the first school of ethics-the home.