PARIS, Aug 23 — As the new school year begins, many parents are worried about the problems their children may encounter online, from scams and offensive content to misinformation and personal data theft. In the absence of school courses on these issues, it is up to parents to act and communicate with their children about the many risks they can be exposed to when they connect to the internet at home, at school, or with friends.
Locking down online access
For online services at home and elsewhere, children and parents should take care to choose complex passwords and renew them regularly in order to correctly block access to their online services. When possible, and if they have a smartphone, it is best to choose double authentication to make their connections as secure as possible.
Equip (all) your devices with an antivirus solution
It is important to make sure that all the devices that will be used by children are up to date and that they are all equipped with a security solution and parental controls, especially to block access to content that is too explicit for their age. Usually, only laptops and desktops are the object of special attention, but you should also think about protecting smartphones and tablets.
Use a VPN
Just as companies encourage their employees to use a VPN when they are telecommuting to protect the privacy of their Internet connection, it is best to adopt this technology when a middle school or high school student is networking with teachers or classmates. As a reminder, a VPN (virtual private network) allows you to enjoy secure online activity while hiding your IP address, which is the same as protecting your identity.
Communicate about the dangers of the internet
This last piece of advice is undoubtedly the most important: you have to communicate constantly with your children about the risks they run when surfing the internet or using a particular mobile application.
The issue of personal data or misinformation must be addressed from an early age, as well as the risks of online scams via social networks or spam.
According to a survey published by the antivirus editor McAfee, two thirds of parents (67 per cent) are worried about their children’s exposure to online risks and scams. This partly explains why an overwhelming majority of them (80 per cent) would like to see courses on good online behaviour set up at school. In the meantime, 41 per cent have already taken steps to educate their children about cyber security themselves.
This study was conducted by MSI International in April 2021 from among more than 1,000 French people aged 18 to 75. — ETX Studio