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As you head out for travel whether it be getting away from the winter or over the school holidays, it is important to remind ourselves and our kids to stay diligent.  Letting your guard down to relax should not include letting your guard down when it comes to cybersecurity.

By instilling good habits early on, we can help protect their privacy, personal information, and overall online well-being. Let’s explore some key cybersecurity practices to remind your kids of so they can stay safe while enjoying their adventures.

  1. Keep Personal Information Private: Emphasize the importance of not sharing personal information, such as full names, addresses, phone numbers, or passwords, with strangers online (or in person in a new place). Remind your children that sharing such details can put them at risk of identity theft or other harmful activities. Encourage them to discuss any requests for personal information with you or another trusted adult before responding.
  2. Strong and Unique Passwords: Teach your kids the significance of strong and unique passwords for their online accounts. Encourage them to use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters in their passwords. Explain that using the same password for multiple accounts makes them vulnerable to hacking. Consider using a password manager to help generate and store strong passwords securely.
  3. Be Mindful of Public Wi-Fi: Explain the risks associated with using public Wi-Fi networks. Teach your children to avoid connecting to unsecured networks whenever possible, as these can be easily exploited by cybercriminals. Encourage them to use a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt their online activity and protect their sensitive information while using public Wi-Fi.
  4. Recognize Phishing Attempts: Discuss the concept of phishing with your kids, helping them understand how cybercriminals may attempt to trick them into revealing personal information. Teach them to be cautious of suspicious emails, messages, or pop-up ads that ask for sensitive data. Instruct them to verify the legitimacy of such requests by contacting the organization directly through trusted channels.
  5. Social Media Awareness: Ensure your children understand the importance of responsible social media use. Encourage them to think twice before sharing personal details, location information, or pictures online. Discuss the potential consequences of posting inappropriate content or engaging in cyberbullying. Encourage open communication, so they feel comfortable discussing any concerns or incidents that may arise.
  6. Regularly Update Devices and Software: Advise your kids to keep their devices, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops, up to date with the latest software patches and security updates. Explain that these updates often include important security fixes that can protect their devices from known vulnerabilities. Regularly remind them to install updates promptly and avoid postponing them.
  7. Trustworthy Downloads and Websites: Teach your children the importance of downloading apps, games, and other content from trusted sources only, such as official app stores or reputable websites. Warn them about the potential risks of downloading content from unknown or suspicious sources, as it may contain malware or other harmful software.

As parents, we have a responsibility to guide our children in navigating the digital world safely. By incorporating these smart cybersecurity practices into their travel routines, we can help our kids develop healthy habits that protect their online security and privacy. Empowering them with knowledge and fostering open communication will ensure they are well-prepared to enjoy their travels while staying safe in the digital realm.