Tips to Keep School Kids Safe Online While Learning from Home
Kids returning to school online or hybrid- leaving parents struggling to make sure they are safe from online predators
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued advice to parents about keeping kids while attending an online school. The start of the academic year is a good time to visit your student’s online learning environment and double-check security settings for apps, computers, phones, as well as all internet-connected devices.
“If you have kids in school, there’s a good chance they’re kicking off their school year…in your living room. All the while, you might be working away, yourself, in some carved out corner at home,” says the FTC bulletin.
Video classes and learning platforms are all vulnerable to hackers and fraudsters. This is a good time for parents of school-aged children who are attending online classes to ensure their kids are safe online. Parents who are working from home and University students also need to make sure their phones, computers, and home network are secured from hackers, spyware, and malware attacks.
How do online classes work?
Your student may be getting emails from teachers’ school email accounts. But they are probably also getting emails from their teacher’s personal email too. The school may be using one or more online learning platforms – like Blackboard – which sends notifications via SMS text and email directly to your child.
This can all be very confusing and leave your student vulnerable to clicking on a malicious email or opening a harmful attachment if tricked by a hacker. Clicking on spam email can result in you receiving even more spam email rather than getting rid of it. Even when you delete a message or even mark it as spam, hitting unsubscribe might be fraudulent and result in a flood of new spam or phishing messages.
Adults and children should learn the basics of how to recognize a phishing email and what to do about them in this helpful guide.
Read about phishing emails and how they can lead to harming your computer and spying on your home.
How to Secure Your Child’s Online Classes
Use strong passwords
You should use a unique, strong, and hard-to-guess passwords for each and every online account and an electronic device that you own. Phew! That’s because if a hacker manages to get one of your account passwords – like for Instagram – they can use it to get into your bank account if you use the same password there too.
People frequently reuse the same password across multiple online accounts. To make it even harder, the average person has about 200 different accounts to keep track of. This makes it almost impossible to remember a new unique password for each account. You can use a password manager to create super strong passwords and help you remember them all .
A good password manager app can help parents of school-aged children manage and keep track of what accounts their kids are logging into.
A password manager can even be synced across multiple phones and computers, so you don’t have to worry about getting locked out of your bank or other important accounts.
Get a device with biometric login capability
If the student in your house is having trouble remembering passwords for their laptop, or tablet then consider upgrading to a device that supports biometric login. Newer devices use fingerprint or facial recognition to control access. This will help a student who can’t seem to remember their passwords. it will also secure the device so anyone who finds a lost phone or tablet won’t be able to see your student’s private information, including any photos or videos on it.
The FTC recommends using strong passwords in combination with two factor authentications.
Use two-factor authentication
Two factor authentication (2FA) or multi factor authentication (MFA) is a security feature for electronic devices and online accounts that adds another layer of security. Enabling MFA and 2FA requires one or more interactions from the authorized account user before access is granted. So, in addition to entering the correct username and password, 2FA may require that the user respond to a SMS text message or email sent to a preauthorized phone. Likewise, MFA requires two or more interactions from an authorized device. But not all online accounts have this feature. Hulu is a good example of this. So, a password manager is still a good choice for protecting online accounts.
All software, whether it’s installed on a computer or smartphone, needs to be updated periodically. App and software companies upgrade programming with new features, but often they must make improvements to increase security. It’s important to keep apps and computer programs updated with the latest security patches to keep your information private and online accounts safe from hackers.
Fraudsters can take advantage of security bugs in unpatched software and use it to break into email accounts, harvest passwords, and steal money from apps left vulnerable due to lack of maintenance.
Security patches for apps and software are usually free. The FTC recommends that you allow software to auto update as soon as a new version is available. Phones can be set to auto update anytime. But they can also be set to accept updates only when they are connected to WiFi so as not to cause a data overage.
Don’t downloads games from advertisements within other games
Internet Safety Tips from the FTC
Never open video conferencing invitations and links if you were not expecting. When in doubt, call or email the conference organizer using trusted contact information.
Video Conference Security
Each video conference app has security features – like PIN numbers, two-factor authentication, and lobbies where the organizer can control who attends. If you are an organizer, be sure to require these security features for all video calls.
Secure your wireless network
Routers are internet connected and use programming referred to as firmware to help them do their jobs and protect your connected laptops, phones, and IoT devices from hackers. So, like all electronic devices, routers need to be updated from time-to-time.
All routers come with usernames and passwords That was set at the factory. Many routers all have the same username and password that can be found online in Technical Support documents. when your router is connected to the Internet a hacker or other unauthorized user can easily read the default router model name and easily look up its default username and password.
if you have never changed this information it makes it easy for them to break into your home network and spy and all your online activity your children’s video classes . And to steal any information sent from your home computers and phones .