How to keep your grandchildren safe online and their devices secure

It seems like every kid has an electronic device these days, whether it’s a phone, game console, tablet or laptop. But it’s not all fun and games – just gone by this February was Safer Internet Day, for a very good reason. Anyone using an electronic device is usually connected to the internet, and the worldwide web is full of exciting things to learn and play. But it also has some very dangerous traps for young players.

Safer Internet Day is an international campaign led in New Zealand by Netsafe and supported by CERT NZ – New Zealand’s Computer Emergency Response Team. The day promotes a safer internet for everyone, and reminds us all to create a more positive online environment for our grandchildren, their friends and classmates.

The security basics

There are a few things to be aware of about those devices that will help your grandchildren be as cyber secure and safe online as possible. The same approach applies when selecting and using any new device, so if you’re thinking of upgrading your device, then take note!

  • Make sure they use passwords that are long, and different for every account.
  • Ask them to set their device screens to lock automatically with a PIN or password when they’re not using them.
  • Ensure they only download apps from legitimate app stores and trusted websites.

These small but important steps will help protect your grandchildren and support a safer internet for everyone.

New device? Take note

When you go shopping (in-store or online), it can be a bit of a minefield comparing the features of the various products on offer. It’s a good idea to consider security when narrowing down your choices – older models might be cheaper, but maybe at the price of weaker security.

Talk to the retailer and make sure the device will still receive software updates, at least for the next year or two. Older devices or second-hand ones may not get security updates for much longer, leaving them vulnerable to new security issues.

Set up matters

When your grandkid is unpacking your shiny new device, don’t forget to make sure an adult helps them set things up so it’s as secure as possible from the start. You can prevent many security issues with a few simple steps such as turning on automatic software and app updates and installing antivirus software. They don’t take much time, but they make a big difference.

Want to learn more? CERT NZ and Netsafe have teamed up to give parents, grandparents and teachers top tips to help kids stay safe online.

Download CERT NZ’s tips about BYOD devices

Find out more about Safer Internet Day