TAMPA, Fla. -- With more students learning online, the concern for cyber security is growing.
"It’s been an explosion for us, people wanting more information," said Patrick Craven Director of the nonprofit, Center for Cyber Safety and Education.
"People weren’t taking it serious enough before and now that everybody is working from home and the kids are at home, all of a sudden cyber safety has become a topic of concern and topic of conversation.”
It's a conversation Craven says parents should be having regularly with their children.
"This time of year kids will be starting and creating new accounts and things like that," said Craven. "This is a great opportunity as parents to be sitting with them and helping them create those logins. And teaching them how to make a good, safe password, teaching them about stranger danger.”
Strangers who get a lot of information from what might seem like an innocent chat or post.
"The first day of school chalkboards, where a child holds it up, my name is whatever and who my teacher is and my favorite color is and my favorite food and my favorite sports," Craven warns it's information giving strangers enough to connect.
"We did research that found 40% of elementary school children have chatted with a stranger online and that’s just frightening," said Craven. And of that 40%, half of them had given out their phone number," said Craven.
Red flag reminders for everyone as more work and school is happening online.
"We’re not familiar with all of this, we're all not used to doing Zoom and Skype and Webex and all these different platforms that are out there and so we’re experimenting, we’re just clicking on things, the kids are as well."
And sometimes the adults are asking the kids how that technology works.
"Don’t assume just because they’re better at technology than we are that they know the safety of it and the dangers that are out there,” said Craven.
Here are some tips to help you and your family stay safe:
- Have regular conversations about online safety
- Online safety basics:
- Explain what constitutes personal information, passwords, camera security, online etiquette, phishing emails, and online strangers, etc.
- Create secure logins
- Create a morning internet safety checklist available on or near your child's computer