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8 out of 10 Indians really feel educating kids cyber security is important; this is how one can educate it too


Since the time we spend virtually, especially on social media, keeps growing with advancement in features and whatnot, it is essential to keep a tab on internet consumption and usage, especially for children.

Your kids may use phones, laptops and tablets for their online classes, playing games, connecting with friends, watching movies and shows and using social media platforms as well. The list is actually endless. So is it also a matter of concern?

A recent report by Norton, a consumer cyber safety brand from NortonLifeLock, found that most Indian adults (86%) believe it is more important now than ever before, for parents to teach their kids about the potential risks of Internet usage. The report was based on responses from 1,004 adults in India.

Nearly 70% of adults feel that it is essential for parents to manage their children’s screen time usage. Most Indians also believed that teaching cyber safety should be as important as instilling healthy habits (81%), helping kids to be prepared for an emergency (81%), and teaching them basic life skills (78%).

About 73% of Indian adults surveyed also believe children are likely to give their family members’ personal information away online. This latest study in India also tells us that three-quarters of Indian parents surveyed (78%), with children under 18, discovered their children have done something on their smart devices without their permission.

Here are some essential lessons you must teach your children about cyber safety:

Thinking twice before you post

If your kid is on social media and so are their friends, then there are high chances they would often post pictures of themselves or share jokes or write comments. You need to make them understand that they should not share content which they are not comfortable sharing, and which may trouble them in the future. The content posted on the internet, even after deleting, can still be transcribed, quoted and taken a screenshot of. They should also not share personal pictures of any friend or family member, without their permission or consent.

Keep your passwords secret

While sharing is caring, passwords are something your kid should never share with anyone, not even their best friend. It does not mean teaching your child to never trust anyone, but realise that there is a reason for a password on emails and social media handles, and sharing it can risk the possibility of hacking or misuse of information. Also, teach them to create unique passwords which are not easily predictable. One way of doing this is by creating a random password that does not include your personal details such as name or date of birth.

Be mindful of social media content

When your kid goes out somewhere, especially with their friends, it is preferable that they don’t reveal their location on social media, even if they feel they are on the coolest place on earth. This is to avoid the risk of tracking or stalking. They should also avoid revealing their phone number on social media, even if they have a private account.

They should also avoid accepting friend requests from strangers and block and report any account if they receive inappropriate messages. Teach your child to be mindful of the content they consume on social media and also realise that a lot of it may be a facade. Several studies have found a link between social media consumption and low self-esteem, poor body image, reduced sleep quality and other depressive symptoms.

Think before you click

Make sure your kids avoid clicking on links on email, websites and social media that could be a cybersecurity attack. These often come in the form of too-good-to-be-true attractive offers, which should be looked at with suspicion. There are many online attacks especially on websites used by kids, as they are more likely to click on attractive URLs. Popular games such as Fortnite and Minecraft are some examples in which people have been affected by malware.

Dealing with cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is using technology to threaten, harass or embarrass another person in virtual spaces such as on social media. It is also common in children, especially teenagers. Make sure you teach your child about the forms of cyberbullying such as inappropriate messages or pictures, and that they share it with you if they even get bullied over the internet, even if by their friend. Cyberbullies should not be encouraged by retaliating to their offensive content, as it usually makes the situation worse.

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