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While we as parents should be talking with our kids often about stranger-danger, it’s a subject that is often overlooked or dismissed as scary or as a difficult conversation to have.
Many parents rely on the school system to help educate their kids about imminent danger, both online and offline. Professionals encourage parents to keep the lines of communication open and talk with their children often about the dangers of befriending new people in-person and online.
This article provides tips on how to get this most important conversation started. Don’t stop there. Make it a topic of conversation often. Don’t think kids will know it all the first time the subject of stranger danger comes up.
Let’s start with the beginning.
Know what the schools are teaching your child about sex, human trafficking, cyber security, human trafficking, abuse, self defense and more. Be aware what they are teaching, at what age, and what might be missing from this line up.
If you know your child has sex ed for a semester, lean in on that and have your own talk with your child. If the school is offering a self-defense class during PE, aks your child to demonstrate some moves and ask them when they should use self defense. Build upon what your child already knows about stranger danger and online danger to star the conversation.
Don’t go into too many details when talking about difficult subject. Be clear, honest and get to the point quickly.
At the same time, use easy to understand words and a vocabulary that matches their age. Don’t use hard to understand words unless you are willing to repeat yourself over and over. Explain things in simple ways.
Take time to listen: Once you’ve explained something about stranger-danger or cyber security, stop to listen. Ask the kids if they have any questions!
Talking about stranger danger and online predators is not a one-and-done conversation! Use news stories are a catalyst to bring it back up and to continue the conversation. Let your children read news stories that talk about cyber security, human trafficking, especially if the cases are about kids meeting strangers online. Talk about what went wrong.
Use real life examples to talk to kids about what can go wrong. Being abducted, opening the door for strangers, meeting someone online who is not who they say they are. Trusting strangers. Don’t ever lay the blame with the kids: always make sure your child knows to come to you with concerns for themselves or a friend.
It’s easy to say “do this, do that”, but be sure to emphasize what NOT to do! Especially if you talk about using technology to keep kids safe: talk about using security cameras, an alarm system and the importance of phone tracking and being in touch with family members at all times.
No matter what stories you read online about kids being kidnaped, hurt or deceived, don’t judge them in front of your child. Your child needs to know they can come to you even if they’ve made a mistake!
Last but not least – always, always, always keep your door open for follow up questions! Kids are curious and might need clarification. Stranger danger and the danger online predators pose won’t disappear just because you’ve mentioned them to your child. As your child grows into their teenage years, continue education them about these topics.
Arm your child with knowledge, confidence and self-defense tactics!
Heather of Strand Security teaches self-defense classes to kids, teens and adults on the Grand Strand. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details, and check out Myrtle Beach Self Defense today!
As we spend more time online, Cyber Security continues to be a threat to our security, our finances and even our personal well-being.
In today’s article, we will outline several of the most common ways criminals fool folks like you and me!
One of the most common scams is imposters pretending to be someone they are not.
One example is when a well-known brand is running a giveaway or contest. An imposter duplicates this brand, even going as far as creating a landing page for the fake contest! Next, they start messaging the followers of the real brand, telling those followers that ‘they won’, and asking them to log in, or click a link.
Don’t fall for fake social media accounts! Don’t engage with them, click a link or give out your password.
Instead, take a good look at the account that’s messaging you:
When in doubt, don’t click! It’s fairly easy to spot a fake once you are on the lookout and you are aware!
There are also plenty of people pretending to be one thing and then really not being that person. There are bots and fake accounts all over the internet.
You can spot fake personal accounts by checking the date they joined that platform, who their friends are, and if their settings are set to the point you can’t find out anything about them. If that’s the case, most likely they are hiding something
The main purpose of fake social media accounts is to get close to you to try to influence your decisions and gain access to accounts and financial information, or to reach someone else who is in your circle of friends.
Make a rule not to friend anyone you don’t know or haven’t met in real life, or anyone who has just a few friends.
If someone you’ve just met starts messaging you and you don’t like it, block them and cut ties with that person or bot immediately.
A phishing attempt looks like the following: an official-looking email comes to your inbox, stating that your bank, your Facebook, your credit card… need to be reverified. That they lost information. That you need to re-enter your password, or your social security number, or you need to log in. Never, ever, ever click on email like that.
Instead, go to the source on the internet. Go to your BROWSER and log in to your bank, your credit card account or Facebook to see if there are any messages or warnings there. If not, it was a phishing attempt!
Be aware of those with bad intentions. While someone might seems ok, it’s easy to create false accounts and pretend to be someone you are not.
If you have teenagers and elderly parents, talk to them about the signs of online grooming by experienced criminals to get control over you, your financials and your life. They might gain access to an important accounts, eventually blackmailing you into giving them access to everything.
It might seem that this person loves you, but in reality they are just a criminal trying to take advantage of you.
Signs to look for when suspecting online grooming happening to you or a loved one:
Last but not least, secure all your accounts with 2 factor authentication aka 2FA.
It’s offered to prevent hacking. Online giants such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, banks and most other financial institutions urge you to use 2FA to prevent hacking.
Set up 2FA on all accounts. Use it. Encourage others in your household to do the same.
It can save you from losing your account, money and access to important account.
Strand Security is here to help you! If you are worried about your Wifi security, home security or cyber safety, come to us with your questions or concerns. We have years of experience and will be happy to answer any questions you have.