Cybersecurity Trends in 2021 to Know As a Parent

Reciprocity Labs - August 06, 2021

The growth of the digital age, technology, online learning, and gaming has exposed children and teens to the internet. With cybercrimes on the rise, parents should be aware of the threats, risks, and vulnerabilities their children are exposed to. 

Your child can encounter the same cyber risks that you can. However, online predators, bullies, and cybercriminals have special ways to get to kids in ways that they cannot resist. Cybersecurity software can help deter some of these criminal activities. It is vital for every parent to monitor their child’s internet use and educate them on cybersecurity. 

Here are some of the common cybersecurity trends that you should be aware of.

1) Cyberbullying

According to a recent study, 59% of teenagers have been victims of cyberbullying. This is one of the most challenging threats to deal with because it can affect your child’s emotional, social, and mental health. Your child can be ridiculed on their social media accounts, online pictures, and gaming sites. 

To protect your child, you can discourage them from creating a social media profile and monitor their mobile and online activity using specialized apps and cybersecurity software.  It would help if you also encouraged them to talk to you when they are being bullied. 

If your child likes online games, you should talk to them about separating their real-life from their virtual characters. This is because players’ personas are at a huge risk of continuous attacks, which turns the game from an imaginative escape into a mortifying ordeal. 

At times, other children can share some private information about a child or their pictures online. This can cause the victim a lot of distress. This can happen through messaging apps, social media accounts, and private chats. When word gets around, the victim can be experience ridicule or gossip at school or among peers in their neighborhood. This can even be worse if the data is inappropriate.

To know if your child is a victim of cyberbullying, check out for changes in behavior such as lack of appetite, sudden hate to go to school or visit the mall, and more. You should also seek professional help to deal with cyberbullying.

2) Accidentally Downloading Malware

Malware is computer software installed on the computer without the permission or knowledge of the user. It can slow down your computer, and cybercriminals also use it to steal your personal information, such as your credit card number, or have access to your bank accounts.

Cybercriminals trick children into downloading malware masked as games. Once your child unknowingly downloads the malware, it will give the hacker access to the device user’s private information. 

Hackers also attractively package phishing emails and smishing texts, tricking the child that they have won a prize so that they cannot resist opening the mail or text. This will also give the hacker access to personal information.  Your child should look out for suspicious links and avoid opening them. 

3) Viewing Inappropriate Content

Your child can easily be exposed to inappropriate or adult content as they use the internet. Such content appears as ads or pop-ups, and they may also accidentally stumble upon these sites. Note that unsupervised children are a risk to themselves online. 

To protect your child from accessing adult sites, you should use a child-friendly browser, like Kiddle, Pikluk, or others like them. that automatically blocks them from accessing such sites and check their browsing histories to know their online activities. 

4) Cyber Predators

Several predators stalk children online and can easily take advantage of your child. Predators lurk on sites that children like to visit, such as gaming and social media sites. Your child can innocently join a child-friendly chat room to connect with their peers or chat with their virtual friends on gaming sites.

Predators often pretend to be children, and therefore, your child will not know that they are chatting with an adult. This is a considerable risk. Predators such as child traffickers, sexual predators, and kidnappers frequent child-friendly sites and can also lure your child to meet them. 

To ensure that your child’s innocence is not exploited by predators on gaming platforms, social media sites, and chat rooms, it would help if you emphasized the danger of interacting with any stranger online. You should also discourage them from agreeing to meet with any strangers and report such chats to you.

5) Online Scams

Several adults fall victim to online scams like fake investment opportunities and winnings that require you to make some payment before receiving it. Unfortunately, your child is also vulnerable to scams such as free access to games, freebies for signing up, or prizes for sharing personal information. 

Your child should be aware of anybody who asks them to share private information online. They should also watch out for quick or easy winnings, gifts, and suspicious links. 

Final Word

Protecting your child from threats and risks on the internet is all about awareness. Knowing the cybersecurity threats that your child might be exposed to is the first step towards protecting them. You should also educate your child on cybersecurity, regularly talk to them about their online life and day-to-day life, and use suitable measures to protect them, including monitoring their online activities. 

Reciprocity helps companies manage their information security with a risk and compliance platform and cares about cybersecurity for everyone.