It doesn’t matter whether your college student goes to Michigan State University or is in one of UC’s online nurse practitioner programs, if they don’t know how to practice proper online etiquette, then they could be at risk for all kinds of threats to their cyber security. The truth of the matter is that college students tend to reveal a lot about themselves online without even knowing it, and some of them also have access to large sums of money via their online accounts. If you want to help to protect them, here is how to keep your college student safe online.
Make Sure They Have Encryption Software
You have probably already bought a laptop for your college student, but does that laptop have encryption software installed? If it doesn’t, then you want to make sure that it does. Encryption software will automatically encrypt all of the content that goes in and out of your student’s computer so that it can’t be hacked or read by anybody else. This is one of the easiest ways to protect their privacy, and especially their legal documents.
Keep All Programs Updated
You want to encourage your student to always update programs and applications when those updates become available. It might be inconvenient at times but it’s extremely important. The updates on their operating software and applications is not just about superficial changes to the appearance of those programs, but it’s also how these programs protect themselves when vulnerabilities are discovered in their coding. The more up-to-date, the less likely they will be prone to attack.
Require New Passwords for All Accounts
It is shockingly easy for hackers to access private and confidential information, such as social security numbers, bank accounts, and medical records. You don’t want to make their job any easier by never changing the same, old password for all of your student’s online accounts. Instead, set up controls so that both the physical computer and as many online accounts require your student to update their passwords regularly. Also require complex passwords using a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters.
Encourage Private Social Media Accounts
Just like you want your student to be aware of basic campus safety tips, you want them to be aware of their online safety, particularly when it comes to their social media accounts. A lot of youngsters think that it’s cool to post sexy photos of themselves, or photos taken at parties. Unfortunately, not only will this make them look unprofessional to their professors and potential employers, but it could also invite nefarious characters into their lives.
Discourage Inciting Bad Behavior Online
You also want to talk to your college student about not engaging in flame wars online. Flame wars are when people attack one another in emotional arguments on the internet. Sometimes this can start as the result of an insulting comment, or sometimes even just by posting something that is controversial. No matter what the case, you want to follow your child’s social media accounts online and make sure that they are keeping things positive at all times.