Cyber safe families

As a parent, you have the dual responsibility to protect yourself and your family when online. A digitally mature family can be cyber safe.

What is cyber safety?

Cyber safety is the safe and responsible use of online information. How and where you keep your personal information and who has access to it is important as most of us and our children spend a lot of time online whether it is for work, school or social purposes.

What are the risks?

Being online allows us to learn and socialise, but it opens us up to risks. These can be financial (scams), physical (grooming) or emotional and social (cyberbullying).

We can mitigate these risks by learning how to be cyber safe.

One step to being safer online is by knowing how to identify scams. These have the potential to steal your identity with the intention to cause harm. We need to be able to easily spot a scam, so we don't respond to them.

Another step is to understand what not to share online. For example, when you or your child post your photo, phone number, home address, or car registration plates on social media, these details could end up being 'harvested' or misused by others.

How can you be cyber safe?

Being aware of what, where and how your personal information is available online is the first step to keeping it safe. Some key points to remember are-

  1. Know how to create strong passwords, different passwords for different accounts and never to share them
  2. Control cookies and add-ons to avoid being tracked online
  3. Consider creating a family tech agreement (for families with children age 5-12)
  4. Learn how to guard yourself against Phishing, Smishing and Vishing scams.
  5. Update your software to the latest version
  6. Protect your accounts with multi-factor authentication (MFA)
  7. Back up your data to an external drive or the cloud
  8. Log out of your device when not in use.

Privacy Awareness Week

The NSW Department of Education is supporting Privacy Awareness Week 2022. This year it runs from 2 to 8 May and focuses on 'Privacy: The foundation of trust – we all have a role to play'.

Poor privacy awareness and a lack of privacy controls can lead to data breaches and the theft of your digital identity. Take a look at this infographic showing where the biggest data breaches have occurred over the last few years. Check out the Facebook figures!

Use the resources below to learn how to protect your digital identity and keep your personal information private.

eSafety Commissioner resources for family privacy

Office of the Australian and NSW Information Commissioner resources

  • The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) has published the Top 10 questions parents have about online security that you can use to make cyber safe decisions
  • The Australian Institute of Family Studies has published a paper with information about online safety with practical tips for parents.
  • Playing IT safe contains information for parents and carers about starting online safety conversations with their child (3-5 years), as well as three online games that can be played together to support these family discussions.
  • If you or a family member is a victim of a cyber crime you should report to Scamwatch. You will also find on their website news articles and information and data on current scams.

Digital citizenship

A good digital citizen knows how to be responsible, safe and effective on the internet and digital devices. The Digital Citizenship website has articles and resources for parent and carers to do with healthy technology use, avoiding scams, protecting your personal information and digital reputation, how to create strong passwords etc. To get help with online bullying you can head to cyberbullying and teenagers.

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