When YOU Know How to Stay Safe from Cyber Crime, Only Then can you Help Your Students be More Informed
Regular readers know that I've amped up our focus on cyber crime and web literacy this year. Educators need to be informed and aware, to help protect student data, and lead the way for students to be safe from cybercrime, and from the spread of mis-information, and the many other unfortunate downsides of the wonderful technology that is the “Interwebs”. I welcome this guest post from Joanna Sommer. – Kelly
I believe that it is a teacher’s role to provide students with lessons that not only further their education, but also provide them with the knowledge and tools they need to succeed and be safe in the world. One of the most important things educators can teach their students today is the importance of staying safe from online crime.
Of course, teaching them what online crime is will be only half the battle. There’s also teaching them how to be safe from online crimes by implementing the following tips:
Don't Click on Links
One of the biggest ways to find yourself in trouble is by clicking links. You just never know where these links will lead to. So, teaching kids from an early age not to click on them is wise. Links can be found in ads, in emails, and even on social network sites. It's always a good idea to be cautious of any site that you don't know about.
What kind of problems can occur by clicking on unknown links?
Unexpected or unrequested links coming via email, social media, shaky web sites, etc., can lead to code that can address books, access passwords, give the computer a virus, or create other problems. In other words, many links can lead to malware and cause serious damage to your computers, so be extra careful!
Teach Them the Importance of Picking a Strong Password
Passwords are used on all kinds of sites in order for the user to keep their information safe and secure. Nowadays, there is a never-ending onslaught of hackers trying to crack the password and gain access to the content. The first step to combat this problem is by creating a strong password.
A strong password is one that typically uses random letters that are both upper and lower case, numbers, and symbols. Another tip, is to ensure they pick a different password for all the different sites rather than using one universal password.
Make Sure that Kids Understand Talking to Strangers is Dangerous
Because the Internet has become such a social tool, people are using it to communicate with others all the time. For some reason, many individuals, especially kids and teenagers, get a false sense of security being behind a computer screen. It’s important to teach students that a screen won’t protect them.
Just as there is the rule never to talk to strangers in their everyday life, this same rule should apply online. The problem is that the Internet attracts all kinds of criminals and undesirables that should never be socializing with kids. Teaching students to steer clear from online strangers and to not give up personal information is a great way to keep them safe.
Educate Them on the Importance of Anti-Malware Software
Another issue that can lead to problems online is malware. It’s very important that any computer a student uses has an updated and new anti-malware program. This includes covering things like viruses, pop-ups, ransomware and other malware problems. Next, it’s a great idea to teach students the importance of the anti-malware software and what potential notifications my come onto the computer screen if viruses, pop-ups and other malware issues are detected.
Social Media Invites – When to Block
The majority of kids have some sort of social media account nowadays, so there’s a good chance they receive invites on a regular basis. There are a few tips in this area that can help keep them safe. First off, it’s imperative that you stress the importance of blocking invites when the student doesn’t recognize who it’s from. If they have any doubt, it’s better just to block the invite.
The other tip involves their account privacy settings. Typically, these social networks allow a person to have a private account, meaning only their contacts/friends list can see their content and there is a public setting, which allows anyone to see the content. For kids, it’s best to opt for the highest privacy setting possible. This will instantly control who sees their content.
Careful What You Do on Public WiFi
The last tip involves the use of public WiFi. Public WiFi is spreading across the country at a rapid rate, with more and more people logging on and taking advantage of it. While it has its purpose and can be quite useful, it's also important not to perform anything sensitive on a public WiFi outlet. This would include such things as banking, or entering credit/debit card numbers. Because public WiFi spots are not protected, it’s easy for criminal elements to steal personal information.
A Few Simple Tips
These tips are a great start at educating students on internet safety, how to identify online crime and how to protect themselves. It’s also a good idea to present this information to their parents so that they can join you in monitoring and protecting their kids.