Did you know that October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month? The term “cybersecurity” may make you think of hackers, viruses, and malware, but many people (especially young people) can get themselves into trouble without getting hacked. One area of concern is TMI: Too Much Information. Young people tend to overshare information about themselves and others without realizing (or caring) that what they post is available to anyone in the world with an Internet connection and may linger online for years to come. Oversharing leaves people susceptible to unwanted attention, cyberbullying, blackmail, fraud, identity theft, and worse. Negative posts can leave a bad impression on potential friends, schools, clubs, colleges, and scholarship organizations who use social media for background checks. “Geotagged” photos provide exact GPS coordinates of where the picture was taken which can identify your home address and frequent destinations.
This month find some time to talk to your son or daughter about cybersafety. Talk about their social media use and the privacy settings on their accounts. Talk about the differences between personal and public and what is and isn’t acceptable to post online. Help your child become a smart, safe, digital leader.
[Originally posted in Whitinsville Christian School Newletter Oct. 17, 2014]