| Education

Back-to-School Cybersecurity Refresh: Keeping Kids Safe in the IoT Era

| 11 Sep 2023

Back to school: it's not just the pencil cases we're dusting off. As our children's education becomes increasingly entwined with technology, it's time to refresh our cybersecurity knowledge.

In this era of smart classrooms, the Internet of Things (IoT) has become as much a part of our children's schooling as textbooks and chalkboards once were. From interactive whiteboards to tablets loaded with educational apps, IoT devices are helping our kids learn in exciting new ways. But with great connectivity comes great responsibility, and it's crucial we stay savvy about online safety.

The IoT in education: a double-edged sword

The IoT revolution in education brings an array of benefits. It allows personalised learning, fosters creativity, and even makes homework a bit more enjoyable! However, these devices are also gateways to the internet and, if not properly secured, potential avenues for cyber threats.

Responsible for our children’s safety - whether you are a parent or teacher (or maybe both!) we need to acknowledge the risks associated with these technologies. Every device connected to the internet is a potential target for cybercriminals. And when it comes to our children, the stakes are high. Personal information, academic records, and even their digital identities can be at risk.

Safety first: 7 steps for secure IoT use

So, what can we do to ensure our children are safe while navigating this brave new world of connected learning? Here are some practical tips:

  1. Educate yourself and your children: Knowledge is power. Familiarise yourself with the devices your children use and their associated risks. Teach your children about the importance of online privacy and the dangers of sharing personal information.
  2. Update software regularly: Software updates often include security patches for newly discovered vulnerabilities. Ensure all devices are set to update automatically.
  3. Use strong, unique passwords: Encourage your children to use complex passwords and change them regularly. Consider using a password manager to keep track of them all. See our free password generator here.
  4. Enable two-factor authentication: Where available, enable two-factor authentication. It's an extra layer of security that can make a huge difference.
  5. Monitor online activity: Keep an eye on your child's online activity. Regularly review privacy settings on their devices and apps.
  6. Keep an open dialogue: Some subjects might be harder to talk about, but having open dialogue means your child is more likely to reach out for help if they are concerned.
  7. Use parental controls: Parental control apps are a great option to help you manage your child’s online security. Check out our recent blog on how to do so here.

A fresh start for cybersecurity

As we start this new school year, let's add a cybersecurity refresh back-to-school routine so we can embrace the educational opportunities IoT devices offer while ensuring our children's online safety. After all, the internet is a fantastic learning resource if we use it wisely.

Remember, cybersecurity isn't a one-time lesson, it's an ongoing conversation. So, let's keep talking, keep learning, and keep our kids safe in this digital age. For more information on keeping your child safe online, visit Digital Matters.

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