Cyber Security – Remote Learning

TasICT would like to not only remind parents to protect their children while online but provide the below resources to assist you in doing so.

This online and connected world we live in today has some fantastic benefits, never before have we seen so many children learning from remote locations, in what would have previously been disconnected learning experience, however, they are far from disconnected. They are in fact more connected than ever, our children are connected to the world and each other via phones, tablets and laptops, participating in group video sessions with their class to one-on-ones with teaching staff and/or other students. They have access to thousands of online learning platforms, gamified learning systems and almost limitless research material and information.

With this fantastic opportunity there also comes some risks. This online worlds can also be a challenging, scary and dark world, from online cyber bullying that can occur from anywhere and at any time, with the bullying reaching far greater audiences than just the classroom. Then there is the online predators, explicit materials, the ability to buy just about anytime online and lastly the risk that your entire families privacy and online security can be compromised through one single wrong click.

I compare this to, would you leave your child unsupervised for hours on end in the local shopping centre? What about downtown Sydney or even New York? Leaving a child unsupervised on the internet can, without adequate controls be far worse.

So what can we do?

  • Use tools to protect them, such as:
  • Parental Controls:
    • Time Limit – limit the time online, playing games or doing certain activities.
    • Supervision – keep an eye on their activities. Spend time online together to teach your kids appropriate online behaviour.
    • Location – Keep the computer in a common area where you can watch and monitor its use, not in individual bedrooms. Monitor any time spent on smartphones or tablets.
    • Ease of Access – Bookmark kids’ favourite sites for easy access – avoids internet searches leading them to “other” sites.
    • Financial – Check your credit card and phone bills for unfamiliar account charges, restrict in-app purchases etc. and require your authorisation before a payment can be processed.
    • Find out what, if any, online protection is offered by your child’s school, after-school centre, friends’ homes, or any place where kids could use a computer without your supervision. Most schools will have an online acceptable use agreement, children should be reminded to uphold this even when away from school.
    • Take your child seriously if he or she reports an uncomfortable online exchange.
    • Understand the apps your children are using and what they do – (includes guides for parents on each app)
  • Most importantly, than controlling methods is education. Children that are controlled will try to find a way around, those educated will make the right choice themselves.
    • It’s never too early to start educating your child about online safety, the sooner you start the safer they will be.
    • Be aware of what your kids see and hear on the Internet, who they meet, and what they share about themselves – Remember, don’t share any personal information, material or passwords. Even be mindful of “trusted” online platforms, these can still be subject to cyber incidents and breaches.
    • Talk with your kids about online security and safety regularly – this isn’t set and forget. Discussion suitable behaviours, what can be shared, what can’t etc. and make sure they can raise concerns with you about anything that happens online.
    • Implement some basic guidelines or rules:
      • Never post or trade personal pictures.
      • Never reveal personal information, such as address, phone number, or school name or location.
      • Use only a screen name and don’t share passwords (other than with parents).
      • Never agree to get together in person with anyone met online without parent approval and/or supervision.
      • Never respond to a threatening email, message, post, or text.
      • Always tell a parent or other trusted adult about any communication or conversation that was scary or hurtful.
      • Use age appropriate sites and games.
      • Awareness that material placed online is there for the world, once released it’s almost impossible to delete it! Other people can save, screen shot or distribute.
  • Warning signs:
    • Your child suddenly changing applications or turning off the computer when you walk into the room
    • Spending long hours online, especially at night
    • Online communications (chat, calls or VC) from people you don’t know
    • Withdrawal from family life and reluctance to discuss online activities

Additional resources: