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  • Donald E. Hester

Spread the Word on Cyber Safety

As you may know, October is cybersecurity awareness month. Each week has a new theme and this week is about the importance of training our children to be cyber-safe and about the various careers in cybersecurity. I have written several articles about careers in cybersecurity and the growing need for cybersecurity professionals.

Teach Kids About Careers in Cybersecurity

One thing that I have not blogged about is cyber safety training for children. It is not just about online predators or cyber bullies, it is about training them on how to use technology safely and how to protect themselves. Children don’t understand the need for privacy or the risks you face every time you go online. We teach them lessons such as not to talk to strangers, to look both ways before crossing the street and not to touch hot things. Arguably children will spend far more time online today than they will doing any of these things. Why don’t we train them to be cyber-safe?

I think the problem lies in the fact that many parents are unaware of the dangers. I must admit, even as a cybersecurity professional I learn new risks daily. If I can’t keep up, how are busy parents with limited experience able to pass on cyber safety to their children? Part of it is making sure that we teach the parents. They don’t need to know all the technical details, they just need to know the risks and best practices. Parents won’t buy-in on the best practices unless they know the risks. Why should you set up two-factor authentications for Facebook? No one will unless they know the risks.

What can we do? Here is one tip: we can consider what we post online. I will admit a cute cat meme does brighten my day a bit. However, we could post something that can helps people learn about the risks and what they can do to stay safe online and offline. This is kind of like the cyber safety version of the golden rule. Pay it forward. See something say something. Think about the things you post online. I bet if most of us were honest we post a bunch of stuff that doesn’t better humankind. If cyber safety is important to you, try posting something that will help make the world cyber-safe. Maybe just once a month. Every little bit helps.

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