Most of us don’t think twice about using the internet. How often do you check your bank account on-the-go, order a birthday present for delivery in less than 24 hours or exchange messages with friends on Facebook?
But the downsides of our reliance on internet technology are increasingly documented. Largely unregulated, the internet presents a range of safety and security challenges to parents, children and businesses alike.
Safer Internet Day 2018 takes place on 6th February. Coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre, it promotes the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people, while starting a national conversation about online safety.
These days kids and even toddlers are au fait with scrolling on a tablet or phone, but how can you stop them seeing anything they are too young for? The internet can be a great educational resource for parents and teachers, but the NSPCC advises sitting down with kids and setting rules about what they should and shouldn’t be doing.
Though it was unlikely to have been on the curriculum when most of us were children, young people need to be educated about their responsibilities online. You can help to discourage cyber bullying by teaching kids to consider how their messages and activities may be interpreted online, while encouraging critical thinking can help children decide who to trust – for example, you should make sure they know not to accept friend requests from strangers.
It’s also a good idea to limit their daily screen time, and check privacy settings carefully.
Over nine billion personal data records have been lost, stolen or compromised since 2013, according to security site Gemalto, with identity theft constituting about 74% of all cyber incidents in 2016. Breaches of this type can result in drained bank accounts, ruined credit scores and more.
As an individual, you can help keep yourself safe from scammers. Avoid opening dodgy-looking emails, never click on links you don’t recognise and always ensure your passwords are strong; you should use a minimum of 8 characters and include numbers, symbols and upper case letters.
If your business takes card payments, stores customer records on a PC or trades over the internet, you are responsible for processing or handling personal data. This would make your business liable for any lost or stolen data, if you haven’t done enough to keep it safe.
Avoid problems by keeping your computer equipment and anti-virus software up to date, changing passwords regularly and encrypting your data where possible.
Cyber Liability Insurance is also available to help out with costs in the event of a hack or data breach. The experts at Edwards Insurance Brokers will be happy to discuss your requirements and arrange appropriate protection.