As Father’s Day approaches, it’s time to tip our hats to all the dads out there who work ceaselessly to protect their kids – in the real world and the digital one.
The last few decades, but particularly in the last five years, have seen a huge change in how society approaches parenting. We no longer see it as simply the mother’s job to care for and provide all the care for a child, while the father brings home the bacon. Fathers are taking an increasingly active role in their children’s upbringing and, as the conversation turns to how we can protect our kids online, ESET has put together its top tips to help dads stay ahead of the cybersecurity curve this Father’s Day.
With society rapidly migrating online, even toddlers can be well adept in handling a computer and playing games on the internet. While our kids are lucky to grow up in a world where they have access to information at their fingertips, there are risks that all children and parents need to be aware of. So, what kind of topics should fathers be talking to their kids about?
Password protections: Protecting personal information is vital for online safety. Fathers should talk to their kids about the importance of secure passwords – as we know, ‘Password123’ doesn’t cut it anymore!
Online stranger danger: Fathers may think to remind their kids of “stranger danger” in real life, but the same holds true for the online world. Guide your children through their online privacy practices and explain to them what they mean. It’s also important to make sure your kids follow certain rules, such as only speaking to people online if they know them in real life. And, even if it is someone they know, fathers should teach their kids to be wary of fake profiles and the fact that people may not be who they say they are.
Malware: We hear about malware relentlessly in the media and it may seem like a big scary word. However, there are simple steps that every family, including the children, can take to protect themselves. For example, when downloading new programs, dads should teach their children to use official websites of the content instead of any third-party sites. It’s also important to teach kids to stop and think before clicking on links – some of which can be deceptive and, particularly in online games, can lead to racking up hefty bills on the family’s credit card by clicking and purchasing various in-game items.
Creating a two-way relationship: Depending on the age of your child, they may think they know a whole lot more about the digital sphere than you. If they want a social media account that you don’t feel they’re ready for, don’t just say ‘no’ but start a discussion. Be sure to listen to their view while also explaining that, while you may know less about how Instagram works, you do have a better understanding of some of the risks. Fathers are more likely to have an influence on their children when there is a trusting two-way relationship and where children feel they’re able to voice their ideas without being dictated to.
Being a dad is no easy job and, as a parent generally, there seems to be a constant stream of new risks to stay on top of. This’s why ESET is working hard to develop products and resources for parents searching for information to help their children stay safe online, so stay tuned for updates. And, in the meantime, enjoy a restful Father’s Day where hopefully your kids take care of you for a change.