There are many traits parents wish to pass along to their kids, such as honesty and kindness. But what about security awareness? Our young, digital citizens live in a connected world that hosts everything from gaming to school work. More than ever, they need guidance to help them avoid the constant threats associated with the internet. Below are five traits of security aware parents that enable children to succeed in their digital lives.
They Practice Security Awareness at All Times
As with everything parenting, leading by example carries a ton of weight. Parents who prioritize security in every aspect of their lives set the stage for their kids to do the same. It’s no different than wearing helmets or looking both ways to cross the street. When a 14-year-old witnesses his guardian utilize safeguards, such as a VPN on public WiFi, it sets a positive and potentially long-lasting example.
Conversely, careless security practices could lead to unfortunate incidents like identity theft, which hurts an entire household. By eliminating bad habits, parents not only protect themselves, they fulfill their obligations as role models and effectively raise wise digital citizens.
They Respect Privileged Access
Privileged access is a key component of information security. Generally, individuals are given the least amount of access necessary to perform their job functions—a security concept known as the principle of least privilege. Limiting access helps insulate one level of a network from the other so that if a mistake is made, it doesn’t impact the entire organization.
Parents can apply this concept at home by setting up individual accounts on shared devices and computers, and limiting what each account has access to. Kids don’t need access to the administrator account, for example. But they might need additional safeguards against mature content, depending on their age (think password-protecting certain TV channels). By managing individual accounts, parents gain control of access and can adjust it as necessary.
They Create Security Policies for Their Household
Every organization has policies in place to prevent security events and keep data safe. Parents would be wise to apply those same policies at home. Obviously, compliance regulations (such as HIPAA) have no bearing on a household, but simple security requirements go a long way toward keeping both parents and kids safe. Here’s a quick list of policies and procedures every home should consider implementing:
- Password construction requirements
- Social media privacy and sharing compliance
- Network monitoring
- Proper disposal of sensitive documents
If “policy” feels too corporate, develop a family pledge for all to sign. The one below is available as a free download here (along with a bunch of other great family-friendly freebies!).
They Make Security a Regular Discussion
As children get older, they will question why they’re allowed access to certain websites or social media networks but not allowed access to others. Eventually, they may push those boundaries and circumvent whatever parental controls are in place. But if they’re warned about the dangers of cybercrime from an early age, perhaps they’ll be less likely to break the rules (and more likely to use caution when they do break the rules).
Every data breach that makes major headlines presents an opportunity to stoke the conversation. A simple “this is what happened and how it could have impacted us” discussion spreads awareness. The same is true for new devices, gadgets, and apps, all of which have levels of security that require attention. Communication and transparency are the solutions to developing a security aware culture both at work and at home. By regularly holding these conversations, kids will naturally grasp the importance of security awareness.
They Limit Screen Time for Themselves
Multiple studies have painted a link between excessive screen time and negative effects on kid’s development, including mental health. Unfortunately, these studies tend to go overlooked by busy parents who are quick to shove a screen in front of their children while at dinner or in the car. To that end, parents themselves spend a crazy amount of time in front of devices for both work and play. It’s no wonder why young generations are growing up addicted to devices.
Per usual, leading by example rings in as the main theme here. Children mimic their parents. And if parents remain constantly connected, kids will follow suit. But by limiting screen time for themselves, parents enable a no-screens environment. Doing so makes it much easier to schedule device-free evenings where the entire family unplugs and spends some healthy time together in the analog world.