GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – Kids are preparing to go Back 2 School, and some of them may still be doing classes online. Even for kids going back in person, we know they spend tons of time online doing homework and research.
These are reasons why information technology professionals say it’s important to start your kids with good cyber security habits.
We talked with Mathew Newfield, chief information security officer at information technology company Unisys. He says parents need to be collaborative with kids and let them know the risks from hackers or from malware — software that can corrupt your computer or devices or give someone unauthorized access.
Newfield says, remind kids they shouldn’t click on links unless they’re sure what the source is, and they should never be afraid to ask questions.
He says one of the most important things you and your kids can do is upgrade your software, or complete updates known as “patches,” as soon as recommended. This will close security vulnerabilities and make sure your devices are working the best they can.
“Vulnerabilities are discovered, vendors supply patches, you need to make sure you’re doing patches — if you’re in Windows, doing a Windows update; if you’re using a tablet or a phone, making sure you’re staying with the latest version is extremely important.”
Newfield also says it’s critical to put so-called nanny or monitoring software on your machines. That software can block kids from going to inappropriate sites but it can also protect them from people who might try to gain unauthorized access to your computers.
Newfield says make sure kids understand it’s not them that we don’t trust, it’s everyone else who has the potential to cause problems and we just want to keep them safe.
Another tip is to give your kids a separate school login that’s different from the one they use for games or other fun activities.
Newfield acknowledges parents may sometimes parents feel overwhelmed with all the issues that can come with computers, but he says you can find help at your kids’ school or from other parents.
“There are a lot of online resources. There are a lot of blogs. There are a lot of communities that have newsletters and websites that you can join. Ask,” he says.
Next week, Action 2 News This Morning will talk about how to help kids with the anxiety they might be feeling about going back to school in person during the pandemic.
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