This piece is aimed at helping parents/guardians explain cybersecurity to their children in a way they can easily understand and connect with their immediate environment to have practical appreciation of cybersecurity terms. The writer has carefully chosen kids-friendly language to help parents educate their children.
What is Cyberspace?
Cyberspace is like a big, imaginary playground on the computer. It is where you can visit websites, play games, chat with friends, and learn lots of cool stuff. Just like you go to a real playground to have fun and meet friends, cyberspace is a place for fun and learning on the internet. But remember, just as you have to be careful and follow rules at the playground, you also have to be careful in cyberspace. Always ask a grown-up for help, be nice to others, and never share personal information with strangers. With the right guidance, cyberspace can be a fun and safe place to explore!
Explain Cybersecurity to Your Child
Cybersecurity is like having a superhero shield for your computer and the internet. Just like superheroes protect cities from bad guys, cybersecurity helps keep your computer and all the fun stuff you do online safe from naughty people who might want to do bad things.
Cybersecurity is all about using special tools and tricks to make sure your computer and your information stay safe and secure. It’s like locking the door to your secret clubhouse so only your friends can come in. Remember, you can be a cybersecurity superhero too! Just like how you look both ways before crossing the street, you should also be careful online. Don’t click on strange links or talk to people you don’t know, and always ask a grown-up for help when you’re not sure. With cybersecurity, you can be a digital superhero and protect your online adventures!
What is Personal Information?
Personal information is all the special stuff about you that makes you unique. It includes things like your name, date of birth, address, phone number, where you go to school, your favorite color, and even the name of your pet. Personal information helps people know who you are and how to reach you. But remember, some personal information is private, like your home address and phone number. You should only share this kind of information with grown-ups you trust, like your parents, because they know how to keep you safe. It’s essential to be careful with your personal information, especially when you’re online, to make sure you stay safe and protect your privacy.
The Digital Life of Children
Kids ages 8-18 spend 7 hours and 38 minutes per day online. This is quite alarming! If a child sleeps 8 hours per night, that means ONE HALF of the time that he or she is awake is spent online.
– 33% Online
– 33% Offline (awake)
– 33% Asleep.
Source: National Cyber Security Alliance
Common Issues Kids Face Online
Some common online issues kids face include: – Cyber Predators – Cyber Bullying – Identity Theft
Cyber predators are people who search online for other people in order to use, control, or harm them in some way.
Cyberbullying is the electronic posting of mean-spirited messages about a person, often anonymously.
Cyber Advice for Kids
Keep your personal information private; avoid sharing your name, address, telephone number, birthday, passwords, and the name of your school when using the Internet.
Think twice before you post or say anything online; once it is in cyberspace, it’s out there forever. The Internet does not forget things. It remains forever!
Treat others like you want to be treated. Would you be happy if your friends say or write something negative about you? Do unto others what you would expect others to do unto you.
Speak up. If you see something inappropriate, let the website know and tell an adult you trust. Don’t stand for bullying—online or offline.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is the illegal use of someone else’s personal information to steal money or credit online. Identity theft is like someone pretending to be you, just like in a game of dress-up, but it’s not fun at all. It happens when someone sneaky gets your personal information, like your name, birthday, or even your special secret codes (like your passwords).
Then, they use that information to do bad things, like buying toys or games online with your money, or even pretending to be you and saying things you didn’t say. It’s like someone wearing a mask with your face on it!
To stop this from happening, always keep your personal information super-secret, like a treasure hidden away. Don’t share it online or with people you don’t know. And if something seems fishy or strange, tell a grown-up you trust right away. That way, you can help protect your identity and stay safe online.
Cyber Tips for Kids
- If you have your own email account, let your parents know if you ever receive an email that asks for your personal information. Some emails look official, as if they were sent from a club or school, but they could be a trick to get your personal information. Fake emails usually seem urgent and ask you to respond with your private information.
- Choose a screen name or email address that isn’t your real name to protect your identity. For instance, instead of “Jack Smith,” why not choose “Sk8boardKing75?”
- Create strong passwords with eight characters or more that use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Don’t share your passwords with anyone.
- Think before you click – don’t open emails from strangers and don’t click on links for unfamiliar sites.
- Use and check your privacy settings on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Secure Your Device
When you play games, video chat, or surf the web on a cell phone or tablet, you are accessing the Internet on the go. We need to be careful when using cell phones just like we are careful when using a computer.
Cyber Tips for Kids
- Keep a close eye on your mobile device. Never leave your mobile devices unattended.
- Keep It Locked. Always lock your device when you are not using it. Use strong passwords to prevent others from accessing your device. Never share your passwords with someone other than your parent or guardian.
- Know Your Apps. Check with your parents before you download an app and review the settings with them.
- Only Connect to the Internet if Needed. Disconnect your device from the Internet when you aren’t using it and make sure your device isn’t set to automatically connect to Wi-Fi.
Author: Emmanuel K. Gadasu
(CEH, CDPS, CIPM, BSc IT, MSc IT and Law*, LLB*)
(Data Protection Officer, IIPGH and Data Privacy Consultant and Practitioner, Information Governance Solutions)
For comments, contact author via firstname.lastname@example.org or Mobile: +233-243913077