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September 4, 2020
Is your kiddo asking about hackers and internet bad guys?

A special note to the Parents and Guardians.  Being a kid in 2020 means more exposure to the Internet than any previous generation. They need to be very careful when using a computer, phone, tablet or any other Internet connected device. This article speaks directly to kids aged 6 and above and how they can safely use Internet connected devices while minimizing their own risk and their family’s risk of malicious attacks.

Good questions:

Can bad guys get on my computer?

It’s a little scary to think about, but yes. It is possible for the bad guys to get on your computer if you aren’t careful. The good news is, there are a few simple things you can do to stop them.

  • Remember to change your passwords once in a while.
  • Never open a message, text or email from a stranger and tell your parents or guardian right away.
  • Never chat with anyone without you parents or guardian’s permission.
  • Always tell your parents or guardian when you are using the computer, phone, tablet or other device that connects to the Internet.
  • Ask your parents or guardian if your device is protected and updated.

Avoid the Bad Guys

Is it safe to chat with my friends?

Yes, it is safe to chat with your friends if you practice the following good habits.

  • Tell your parents or guardian when you are chatting with your friends.
  • Always chat with someone you know.
  • Never chat with a stranger.
  • When you chat with your friends, pretend your parents or guardian can see everything you type.
  • Never bully other kids.

Why are passwords so important?

  • A password is like a key. You use them to open things. In this case your password lets you do things like use a computer, get on the Internet, talk to your friends, etc.
  • Passwords are very powerful and should never be shared with anyone except your parents or guardian.
  • Get in the habit of writing down your password. A password loses its power if you write it down.
  • Remember to change your password once in a while. Your parents or guardian will tell you when it’s time to make a new one.

NOTE TO PARENTS/GUARDIAN: Change the passwords at least every 90 days.

If I need to get on the Internet how can I make sure it’s safe?

Luckily there are a few easy ways to tell if you are protected from the bad guys when you use the Internet. Here are a few things you can do to make sure it’s safe:

  • Never click on a “link” if you don’t know where it came from. Don’t know what a “link” is?  Look below.
  • Ask your parents or guardian if your computer, phone or tablet has some type of app installed to protect it.

NOTE TO PARENTS/GUARDIAN: Install and update protection software often.

  • Ask your parent or guardian to check if the website is safe.

NOTE TO PARENTS/GUARDIAN: When you get on the Internet your device uses an app called a “browser”.  That browser will have a window near the top of the screen. That window will have a bunch of letters and numbers in it.  You should see the letters “HTTPS” at the beginning.  The “S” standards for secure. Additionally, you should see a small padlock icon near the address.

Sample Secure URL

What is a “LINK”?

Links are special words that you can touch or click with your mouse that take you to a place on the Internet. They can sometimes take you to bad places that you shouldn’t go. If you aren’t sure ask your parents or guardian to look at it first. Here are a few ways to know if you are looking at a link.

  • A link usually has UNDERLINED text.
  • If you move your mouse pointer over a link it usually pops-up with a larger text box.
  • Your mouse pointer will change shape from an arrow to a hand if you move over a link.

Sample of Link Rollover

Additional Tips

1. Email and chatting

If you send and receive email remember the following:

  • Do not to open any emails that comes from a stranger.
  • Tell your parents if you do get an email from a stranger.
  • If you’re not sure what to do ask your parent or guardian for permission before creating or sending an email.
  • Never accept a chat or message from a stranger.
  • Tell your parents or guardian right away if a stranger is sending you email or trying to chat to you.

2. Keep track of your stuff

As a kid it can be hard to keep track of all of your toys, books, phone, tablet, etc.  It’s very important to clean-up after yourself especially your electronic devices. Make sure you don’t leave your devices lying around or open when you aren’t using them, even for a short time.

Here’s why:

  • Your devices can tell bad guys a lot about you and your parents.
  • The bad guys can use your device to steal money from you and your parents or guardians.
  • Your device can allow the bad guys to contact all of your friends.

Keep Track of Your Stuff

3. Cameras!

You probably already know if your device has a camera on it. Most computers, laptops, phones and tablets have a camera. You should ask your parent or guardian to consider blocking the camera lens to keep the bad guys from spying on you. Use a dark piece of tape to cover the lens of the camera when you are not using it. Ask your parent or guardian before using the camera.

4. Talk to your parents or guardian

You and your parents are both in this together.  In order to protect yourselves from the bad guys it is important to communicate with each other to recognize danger and know what to do if you face a scary situation.

NOTE TO PARENTS/GUARDIAN: Educate your kids on what is appropriate and what is not, and why. People can abuse children remotely. Explain to your kids what can happen. Pedophiles are manipulative; it’s up to you as parents to learn about these threats and put your kids in the safest position possible.

For more in-depth information on this, read Keep Your Family Cybersecure.

About the Author
CBI Dan Gregory
Dan Gregory
VP | Systems Engineering
Dan has more than 15 years of field experience in performing regulatory compliance controls assessments and policy review. Dan has extensive experience in development and internal process audits with a focus on the financial, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail industries. Dan has performed countless controls assessments and efficiently deploys solution-based integrations designed to protect critical infrastructure, data, brand confidence, and reputation.
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