All school districts in Cherokee County will have started school by the end of this week. Because many have incorporated some form of e-learning into school curricula, it is more important than ever for parents, teachers, administrators, and students to be aware of potential threats online. The Better Business Bureau is reminding consumers to be on the lookout for predators online this back to school season.
“As our lives and the lives of our children unfold online,” said Mechele Agbayani Mills, president and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas. “It’s important for parents and administrators to create guidelines and provide online safety education. “
Tips for parents:
• Know what your child is doing online. Keep track of which social media sites and accounts your kids have access to. Many sites are designed to collect and sell information and behavior from unauthorized users to advertisers seeking to engage in targeted marketing. Make sure your kids are aware of the existence of online predators.
• Beware of click baits. Whether it’s contests and giveaways, surveys, too good to be true prizes or the latest trends, click baits are designed to grab or draw barely disguised attention to collect personal information. or financial. Make sure your kids know how to stay away and don’t have access to bank or credit card information.
• Understand the applications. Some apps may collect and share personal information about your child or target your child with advertisements. Even free apps can include paid features, which kids might not understand. This could result in a hefty bill at the end of the month. Remember to turn off location settings, or at the very least turn them on only when using the app.
• Use file sharing sites with caution. Many websites allow children to download free media. Unfortunately, these sites often carry the risk of downloading viruses or malware, allowing identity thieves to gain access to your information.
• Read the privacy policies together and understand the privacy settings. Teach children to read the privacy policies and terms of service for any apps or websites they want to use. Remind them of the importance of knowing what they’re signing up for and that less is more when it comes to sharing information.
• Use parental controls if necessary. While the best way to protect a child’s online privacy is to teach them how to manage it on their own, parental controls are a second line of defense. Android, iOS, and most web browsers offer built-in features that allow parents to monitor their children’s online activities. Third party applications are also available.
Tips for teachers and administrators:
• Video conferencing tools. Make sure the online software used for giving lectures, classwork, and other online interactions is secure.
• Evaluate and update cybersecurity plans. Create a plan to notify students, faculty, and staff in the event of a data breach or security issue. Conduct exercises to test their ability to maneuver in a cyber attack.
• Keep a clean machine and update devices that connect to the Internet. Regular backups, up-to-date software, and a knowledgeable team / family are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
To learn more about child safety online, visit the National Cybersecurity Alliance at staysafeonline.org/ for the latest information.
BBB is a non-profit, business-backed organization that sets and maintains high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB consumer services are free. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB company profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on matters affecting market confidence. There are over 100 local and independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central East Texas, which was founded in 1985 and serves 19 counties.
Visit bbb.org for more information.