The age of cybersecurity is forcing parents to redefine “the talk”
It’s time we have “the talk”
There are a vast number of subjects parents have to help their children navigate as they get older. Among these is proactively educating children about internet safety and how to protect oneself online every day.
For a generation reared online, so to speak, it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint an age when children are not engaging with the internet. Since the internet is everywhere, and since the way we use it is constantly changing shape, platforms, and algorithms, it’s important to recognize that personal cybersecurity isn’t a topic to cover some day “when they’re ready.”
Members of Generation Z are digital natives because they’ve used the internet and mobile devices practically from infancy. And if parents instill the right habits early, they can be cybersecurity natives, too.
So, how should we approach the topic of cybersecurity with our kids?
The magic password
First up, parents: choosing unique passwords for each account is a must, and kids today need to understand that using one single “master password” for all accounts is unsafe. If this password gets compromised by a data breach, any other accounts linked to that same password are now at risk since hackers have the credentials. By the time we realize our data is leaked, it’s usually already too late to prevent the impending damage—such as stolen identities or hacked email accounts. With all the data breaches making headlines these days, you need to do everything you can to keep your children’s accounts secure. Ensure they use a strong, unique password for each account to help protect data from hackers.
We hear it all the time, but that’s because it’s the best advice: passwords should be complex, contain 12 or more characters, and use a combination of letters and numbers. Additionally, it’s never a good idea to use names, birthdates, or other personal information in a password.
Of course, it can be challenging to remember individual passwords across numerous online accounts. So, you might opt to use a password management tool—such as Dashlane or the ironically-named 1Password, both of which encrypt and store multiple passwords to help keep track of your credentials. These tools are fairly kid-friendly too, to make it easier to get your kids in the habit of using them early on.