By Linda McCarthy, Internet Security Advocate and GurlTrendz.com Expert
October… what a wonderful month! It’s time to take out your sweaters, scarves, and indulge in warm spicy-drinks. We even have the opportunity to dress up in crazy costumes and frighten our friends and families on Halloween.
Another important event that happens that you might not realize is that October is Cyber Security Awareness month. For some adults internet security is much scarier than Halloween. And in an effort to educate the public about security, the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) has deemed October as National Cyber Security Awareness Month. With the goal being to help educate the public about internet security and safety — even President Obama as well as the big wigs in Homeland Security agree to mark this month on the calendar every year, and this October marks its ninth year.
So what is the purpose of this?
NCSA wants everyone to take part in the effort to make cyberspace a safe place. The Department of Homeland Security wants Americans to “ACT” (Achieve Cybersecurity Together). That’s an important point because every person is a link in the security chain. Parents alone can’t keep their kids secure. We all have to work together to protect our kids online.
It’s not surprising to hear that 1 in 4 parents are overwhelmed by technology and they are just hoping for the best. I understand that feeling of defeat, but when it comes to our kids we can’t just hope for the best. They need to be taught the rules to the road when it comes to the internet.
You would not just hand your kids the keys to the car and say have fun. The same goes for the internet. This is just one good reason for promoting Security Awareness Month. So what can you do? Here are three things every family can do:
- Are your home computers secure? October is a good time to take a look at how security is on your home network. For example, are you sure your antirvirus software is installed and up to date?
- Consider parental controls. Is your five year old talking about Googling her favorite game? That might meant that it’s time for you to look into parental controls for your family computer.
- What’s your school doing? Has your child’s school started an anitbullying campaign? With the school year already in full swing you can bet the bullies are too. Make sure your school is doing something, or think about working with them to create an anitbullying program.
October is a good month to think about these things When it comes to protecting our families and our kids on the internet it’s a 24×7 around the clock effort.
I know a lot of parents that just hand their kids technology like smartphones and just assume their kids are ok. Don’t forget that cell phone can be a great way to keep in touch with your kids, but it can also be turned into a weapon by the bullies that can now access your child every day and every minute of the day. Get involved, don’t just hand your kids technology. As we move beyond October we need to work together throughout the year to protect our kids and families.
For more information or how to get involved and to find some great resources on security and safety go to: http://www.staysafeonline.org/ncsam/get-involved
And download free online copies of Own Your Space:KeepYourself and Your Stuff Safe Online at: ownyourspace.net, Devry.edu/ownyourspace, Microsoft.com/safety, and facebook.com/security