Tips to monitor kids' cybersecurity

In this July 12, 2018, photo, children work on a digital program at Coby Preschool in Yoshikawa, suburban Tokyo, on an assignment, which was to draw on a triangle on an iPad. (AP Photo/Yuri Kageyama)
Keeping kids safe online
IPS cyber security
IPS cyber security event
IPS cyber security event
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — As kids continue to get online at younger and younger ages, it's important for parents and their children to understand the internet isn't always a safe place.

Indianapolis Public Schools is holding a special meeting Tuesday to give parents tips on how to keep their kids safe and secure on the internet.

The school district will host cybersecurity expert Theresa Payton at Shortridge High School at 6:30 p.m. She will discuss ways to keep kids from falling into dangerous online traps.

This information is becoming increasingly important. Research from staysafeonline.org shows a child's day can be easily broken down into thirds: awake and online, awake and offline, and asleep.

That's part of the reason predators target children: they're online often and lack knowledge about cybersecurity.

One of the ways kids can fall victim is by befriending strangers online. Ninety-one percent of people age 18 to 24 say they have "friends" on social networks who they actually don't know well.

Another danger is weak passwords. Thirty percent of people age 18 to 24 admit to trying to guess someone else's password. The most popular password used online: "password."

When it comes to protecting kids online, parents should always be thinking of three Cs: cybersafety, cybersecurity and cyberethics.

But the Federal Trade Commission also wants parents to be aware of the three I-Cs.

  • Inappropriate conduct: Remind your kids that even though being online may feel anonymous, it isn't. Kids should still be accountable for their actions, and it's important to know what they post online now may come back to haunt them in the future.
  • Inappropriate contact: Let kids know that there are people online with bad intentions. Bullies, predators, hackers and scammers are all waiting for vulnerable victims. They should not be open to forming relationships, or even just having conversations, with everyone they meet online.
  • Inappropriate content: Yes, there's plenty of violence, hate speech and pornography on the internet. Be sure to monitor your child's internet use to ensure they are viewing age-appropriate content.

Experts say patience is key when it comes to teaching children these lessons. It may take a couple times of them hearing it for the message to really sink in.

Why can't this stuff be taught at school? Less than 25 percent of teachers consider themselves adequately prepared to teach kids about the risks of cyberbullying. Parents should consider joining the gaming sites and social media platforms their children frequently visit to have a full understanding of what their child is being exposed to. They should also know kids' various passwords to have full access to their accounts.

IPS media relations coordinator Carrie Cline Black suggests setting house rules for children and having the difficult talks to lay out guidelines of what is and isn't allowed.

If you'd like to register for the IPS cybersecurity event, click here.