Protecting children as they learn online

Top Stories

COLORADO SPRINGS — Families across the Pikes Peak region are adjusting to remote learning, and hackers are taking advantage.

If I can target children and get into the computer now, I can get access to mom and dad,” said Greg Gardner with ACI Learning.

Gardner is a cyber instructor and says cyber threats can come in all forms like malicious emails and even cyberbullying.

“We don’t want to be ‘big brother’ but want to keep you protected, so let’s have a discussion on that,” Gardner said.

He added there’s several ways to protect your children while they’re learning online.

Start by setting strict privacy and security settings and tell your kids to not save passwords in any file or browser.

“Google most used passwords that’s how a hacker goes in and breaks into things and use big word lists,” according to Gardner.

Gardner also says to be on the lookout for phishing emails where hackers can pose as school staff and get kids to click links.

“You can see something like ‘you need to let your parents know you didn’t hand in an assignment and got an F and click here to fix it,'” he said. “They’re trying to scare you.”

Online Safety Tips:

  • Browsers
    • Don’t save passwords in a file or in any browser and instead use a password manager
    • Parents should check browsing history
    • Always log out and close your browser
    • Only send information (forms) on websites using SSL/TLS/HTTPS
  • Zoom
    • Know that your camera and microphone can be turned on by the instructor – depending on the settings for the meeting
    • Don’t share your screen; share the application you are working on
    • Your instructor can set up waiting rooms to have control over who is in the meeting
    • Use your real name, not your e-mail address
  • Firewall/Parental controls
    • You can set times that your router will allow computers out on the internet
    • You can set restricted sites, you can use keywords to restrict, and you can specify which computers these rules (restrictions) apply to
  • VPN
    • VPN will encrypt all your communications and create a tunnel of protection for you
  • E-mails
    • Don’t just click on links – especially those that say, “Click here.” At a minimum, look at the actual hyperlink to see if it makes sense.
    • Don’t click on e-mail links when you are already logged into another website. You could open yourself to what is known as Cross-Site Request Forgery
  • Your wireless router
    • Turn off the SSID broadcast
    • Use WPA2
    • Change your password frequently

Gardner says if further guidance is needed, contact your internet service provider and your school’s IT department.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest Local Stories

More Local