2022 was another tumultuous year in cybersecurity. Aside from the worrying, though expected, increased rates of scams, viruses, and ransomware attack victims, there was also a large number of data breaches throughout the year — particularly in its final months.
In September, Samsung suffered its second large data breach of the year, while in November alone, 500 million WhatsApp users and 5.4 million Twitter users had their data compromised in two huge leaks. In the case of Twitter, the situation only worsened as it was discovered that 200 million Twitter usernames and email addresses were up for sale on the dark web.
The above comes in the context of a wider chaos that has descended on social media platforms in recent months, with huge losses, a proliferation of scams, and debates raging over two bills, currently stalled in Congress, designed to safeguard our children online. But fear not, as Trend Micro is here to help — and with all the above in mind, we thought we’d put together some top tips for family healthy habits in 2023.
Top 5 Digital Healthy Habits for Families
#1 Set Boundaries and Teach Digital Citizenship
Digital citizenship is best described as the act of displaying appropriate and responsible behavior when using digital technology. To put it simply, we can’t expect children to immediately know right from wrong when it comes to healthy online behavior. Trend Micro’s Cyber Academy is perfect for this. Aside from setting boundaries on screen time (for example, screen-free dinners and bedtimes), parents should sit down with their children and go through fundamental rules such as:
- Treat others as you’d like them to treat you
- Be positive, but be honest
- Think before posting
- Avoid digital drama
- Practice skepticism
- Be aware of your digital footprint
#2 Learn About Your Child’s Online Habits and Hobbies
You could start by asking your child which platforms they use and which online activities they most enjoy. At the end of the day, this is your child’s world — it’s important to acknowledge that, to listen, and to be an active participant in that world. If you can acknowledge together the pros and cons of our online lives, that will help build consensus and cooperation when it comes to issues relating to social media, cyberbullying, and gaming. It’s also a good idea to friend/follow your kids on the platforms they use, as well as be in the know regarding slang (just don’t try and use it!).
#3 Lead by Example
Parenting in the digital age is tough, but one of the best ways to encourage your children to follow healthy online habits is to do so yourself. For one thing, if you’re a screen addict, your kids will be too! On a deeper level, being honest and transparent will help them trust you in serious moments. Two good starting points: limiting your own screen time and turning off phone notifications past a certain time when at home.
#4 Start the Year with New Passwords and Better Security
Why not gather round one evening and update all your passwords for 2023? Make sure your kids know not to share passwords and accounts with others. And if you or your children don’t have two-factor authentication (2FA) enabled, that should be a top priority.
You should also check that the family’s devices are up to date, with decent cybersecurity software installed. Consider Trend Micro’s Password Manager, or our FREE HouseCall scan & fix tool. For mobile devices, parents and children both should only download apps from the App Store or Google Play — and even then, be sure to check reviews. Lastly, consider backing up the family data to a secure cloud storage space or physical hard disk.
#5 Schedule Regular Family Digital Detoxes
A digital detox involves unplugging from the digital world for a specific amount of time. There are many benefits for families in doing so, such as:
- increased family quality time,
- better eye and sleep health,
- improved social skills and creativity,
- and increased exercise and tactile experience (which is crucial for child development).
The possibilities for digital detox activities are endless, whether that’s a day out in nature or a family board game night, and will depend on your location and age-range. A good starting point would be our popular article on 50 screen-free activities.
A Helping Hand from Trend Micro
Our Internet Safety for Kids and Families program will be a great resource for the year ahead. It was founded in 2008, since becoming a great success by reaching over 3 million students, parents, and teachers in 20 countries. Its Cyber Academy is a fun interactive series for children and their parents to learn lessons on internet safety and digital wellness. The lessons Healthy Habits and Safety Settings would be a great start.
There’s also our FREE Trend Micro Family tool. With linked apps for both parents and kids, you’ll receive updates from Trend Micro on what your children are searching for, viewing, and even what locations they have visited. Add to that our real-time AI that blurs inappropriate content, as well as our social media privacy protection tool — and this glowing review from TechRadar is no surprise.
As always, we hope this article has been an interesting and/or useful read. If so, please do SHARE it with family and friends to help keep the online community secure and informed — and consider leaving a like or comment below. Here’s to a healthy-habits 2023!
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