It’s becoming increasingly more urgent for us to protect our students from stranger danger and online threats they face in virtual worlds.

Teaching ‘stranger danger’ should extend to the virtual world

It’s becoming increasingly more urgent for us to protect our students from the constant threats they face online

In addition to explaining the dangers of oversharing, students should also be reminded that the privacy settings on their social media accounts exist for a reason. Explain to them the importance of being selective about whom they accept as a “friend” online.

Update Before It’s Too Late

We’ve all done it at least once: while you’re in the middle of a task, your computer or device tells you it’s time to update the software and instead you click ‘postpone’ (and keep postponing until you’re good and ready). In fact, nearly a third of people don’t perform software updates when they should or at all. However, keeping the security software, web browser, and operating system on your student’s devices up-to-date is one of the best defenses against online threats. Be sure to remind your student to follow their software update notifications and to immediately install updates when prompted.

Keep Your Friends Close and Your Devices Closer

This seems like a simple thing to do, but forgetfulness breeds vulnerability. Teach your student to keep their laptop and devices close and to put them in a safe, secure place when they’re not being used. Of course, never leave a device unattended outside or in a public place. And most importantly, with more than 80% of cyberattacks caused by leveraging weak or insecure passwords, students should be sure to protect their devices with long, unique passwords that are very hard to guess so that any lost or stolen devices can’t be accessed.

Despite all these precautions, students—especially younger children—may not immediately recognize the dangers of visiting unknown websites or communicating with strangers online. However, ongoing reminders and communication are always the best tools we have to protect our students from the threats they can and can’t yet see.

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