Internet Safety

Decoding cybersecurity for you family

Digital security tips to help stay safe online

The internet is a big place—one that’s growing every day. And in a world that is
becoming increasingly connected through constantly evolving technology, families today
are exposed to more threats than ever before. A 2022 BCG study found that “as many
as 93% of children from ages 8 to 17 are on the internet, and remarkably, nearly three
out of four respondents said they had experienced at least one cyber threat.”
While the internet can be a fantastic resource that provides kids opportunities to learn,
socialize, and play, it is also a very public expressway. Knowing how to proactively
protect our kids and teenagers from digital threats to make sure they’re staying safe
online is as important now as it ever was.

In simplest terms, cybersecurity is the practice of protecting computer and technology
systems, networks, programs, and data from digital attacks—also known as
cyberattacks. Bad actors threaten privacy and security for their own gain—whether it’s
to steal money, obtain sensitive information, or damage the image of others. Common
types of cybersecurity risks include cyberbullying, inappropriate content, online
predators, and phishing scams or other types of social engineering. In this article, we’ll
talk about what each of these risks entails and provide tips on how you can equip your
family to recognize and overcome them.

In 2022, 46 percent of U.S. teens reported having experienced cyberbullying. Direct harassment through hateful or insulting messages, fake social media accounts that claim to be the child who is being bullied, and even the unlawful sharing of degrading content are all forms of cyberbullying.
Experts like  KidsHealth  say that effects from enduring cyberbullying can include anxiety or severe depression—and have lingering impacts. While millennials and baby boomers grew up watching technology evolve, Generations Z and Alpha have only known a digital, connected world and are comfortable sharing personal and intimate details without a filter. 

Teaching your kids the “What would grandma say?” rule can help them avoid sharing anything on social media “that they wouldn’t want their teachers, college admissions officers, future bosses, strangers—and yes, grandma—to see.” While parents can create an open channel of communication with their children, there are also other online safety tips and tools to help prevent cyberbullying.
For example, parents can encourage their kids to pick usernames that avoid giving away personal information and make sure privacy settings are enabled for social media or gaming apps. Proactively, you can use tools like parental controls with wifi scheduling (included with the eero app for managing your eero device) to select online and offline times for individual devices or for the whole house. Finally, app or website blocking is another option to help block platforms where cyberbullying happens and control your family’s online experience (included with premium digital security subscription  eero Plus).
In short, creating healthy systems around online usage can help drive
cybersafety and prevent cyberbullying.

As most parents know, there are a lot of things on the internet that children shouldn’t be exposed to. And while some sites like YouTube and Facebook have age-restrictive guidelines to help shield them from things they shouldn’t see, it’s difficult to protect kids from everything.

Cybersecurity experts recommend talking to your kids about the realities of the internet. Agree on a set of online safety rules, encourage critical thinking, and remind them that not everything they see online is real or true. 

A preventative tool to help you safeguard your kids’ online browsing experience and act as a gatekeeper content is content filters: set restrictions for designated devices based on age range or content categories (included with eero Plus).

To summarize: Content filters, along with an agreed-upon set of online safety rules, can help reduce your children’s exposure to inappropriate or false content.

Predators may often lurk on social media or other games/applications meant for children, where they can use anonymity to talk to children directly and try to get them to share private information through seemingly innocent conversation.

One way to reduce the risk of your children sharing private information with an online stranger is teaching them what healthy interactions with other children their age look like and to avoid conversations that have anything to do with sensitive information, such as passwords, addresses, or personal data. Additionally, there are tools like advanced parental controls with content filters or website/app blocking (included with eero Plus) that you can use to help protect your family from websites you decide are harmful or inappropriate.

Utilizing advanced parental controls along with teaching your children about healthy online relationships can help shield them from online predators.

Phishing is a type of social engineering attack that’s used to gain access, convince someone to do something on someone else’s behalf, or to steal user data such as login credentials or credit card numbers. Bad actors disguise themselves as something or someone the victim trusts—like a bank or a family member—in order to trick adults or kids into opening an email or message that contains viruses or other malware or giving away sensitive information.

Phishing scams—and the social engineering that makes them so effective—are always a threat for young people who may not yet have learned the dangers of the internet or for adults who may overlook them. Promises of faster downloads, free in-game credits, or other rewards can lure children and even parents into clicking links that install ransomware (malicious software that locks files) or other malware. Be vigilant and avoid giving away any sensitive data or personal information.

Teach your children to be wary of content that looks like spam and to ask you if they’re unsure whether what they’re seeing is safe.

In the end, nobody’s above getting tricked. Preventative advanced security measures with active threat protection combined with antivirus solutions are your best bets against phishing attacks.

Even with everything that comes with having an online life, there are ways you and your family can protect your online activities. Clear and open communication with your family about what they like to do online, where they like to do it, and how to identify any risks that may come up is a solid plan to minimize internet danger.

Having these conversations makes it easier to set clear boundaries around what your kids should and shouldn’t be doing online. But even after you’ve controlled the controllables, internet dangers still exist—which is why it helps to ensure that you have the right digital security tools in place to proactively reduce cyberthreat risks.