The concept of malware can be pretty difficult for children to get their heads around (especially if their parents happen to be Luddites.) Here are some simple tactics from BitDefender's Andrei Taflan that should lead to safer surfing.
Last week, we caught up with BitDefender's global PR manager Andrei Taflan about the current malware landscape and the company's new range of security products that counter them. Among the topics of conversation was underage browsing and how to effectively educate children about the dangers of malware.
These days, the majority of Aussie kids spend at least some of their time online — there are even fully-fledged Android tablets aimed specifically at the under-eight set. With so much technology at children's fingertips, there's only so much hands-on supervision a parent can do.
According to Taflan, the best way to explain malicious code and their potential dangers to children is to eschew jargon for a relatable analogy. Instead of trying to explain identity theft and backdoor exploits to your offspring, simply draw parallels with real-world "stranger danger":
We teach our kids never to open the door for strangers and the same is true of the online experience. Most parents are smart enough not let their children chat with strangers on social media, but websites should be treated with the same caution. This is what we need to teach our children: If you’re uncertain about the origin of something, keep away! If you’re not 100 per cent sure that the website is the one you’re looking for, don’t click on it. The same goes for websites from other countries: if you don't know the language, don't click on it. This will stop [your kids] from accidentally going to shady Chinese or Russian websites when looking for music, for instance. Above all, teach your kids to come to you if they are unsure about something before they go there. If you are unsure yourself, you can then find out together by visiting a trusted forum. Basically, kids need to get out of the habit of clicking randomly.
In other words, get your kids to treat Google and other search engines like their own front door: unfamiliar websites should be left outside. We think this is pretty solid advice for children — or anyone, for that matter.