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December 5, 2023 - 3 min read
Keeping kids safe online means making sure their computer tech is equipped with the necessary tools and features. With Back to School 2024 right around the corner, we asked our tech experts for their top cyber safety tips and features to look for in laptops and tablets.
“With the recent security breaches in major corporations, and news of ways in which predators are using the internet to find victims, it’s more important than ever to make sure your child is set up for a safe experience when using technology,” says Jason Tavoletti, The Good Guys Buyer – Tech.
“While no interaction with the outside world can ever be 100 per cent safe, just like teaching them to cross the road safely, there are simple steps you can take to ensure your child’s laptop or tablet is secure.”
Want more Back To School inspo? Check out our Back to School hub!
We’re all aware of the online risks around being lured to click links that give away financial information or download viruses. But with kids, there’s the added risk that they might reveal their home address or where they go to school.
“Cyber security for kids is hugely important,” says Mark Gorrie, Senior Director APAC NortonLifeLock. “We recently released results from a new Australian survey by Norton, which revealed that 86% of Australian adults surveyed believe under 18s are likely to give their or their family members’ personal information away online.”
Good cyber safety means having antivirus and malware protection, as well as knowing what information not to share, who to trust, and how to differentiate a scam from a genuine link, email or app.
When it comes to monitoring a child’s laptop, it’s important to know which lines are safe to cross or not. Psychologists recommend creating an atmosphere of trust where you can discuss risks and boundaries. Just as you wouldn’t let your kids walk freely around the house without safety measures in place around liquor cabinets and household poisons, you shouldn’t let them have complete freedom to roam the internet.
Most operating systems come with built-in parental controls to allow you to set limits.
Mark Gorrie recommends using a dedicated app that gives you the power to set sensible limits for your kids. “We provide a Parental Control feature with that in mind, part of the Norton Family plan,” says Mark. “This allows you to set screen-time limits, set parameters for age-appropriate content, and view content your child is accessing.”
Apple MacBook Air 13" M2 256GB – Space Grey
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 1i 14" Celeron 4GB 128GB + M365 Laptop
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 3 i5 8GB 256GB Platinum
Most of the same tools that work on a laptop will also work on a tablet. Because tablets are often closed systems, with closed app stores, they allow for even more parental controls when compared to a traditional laptop.
Apple iPad 10.2" (9th Gen) 256GB WiFi Space Grey
Apple iPad 10.9" (10th Gen) Wi-Fi 64GB – Blue
Samsung Galaxy Tab A9+ Wi-Fi 128GB Graphite
Mark Gorrie suggests a couple of Norton products. “For security software for multiple devices, there are two great options currently available in Australia – Norton 360 Premium and Norton 360 Deluxe,” Mark says. “Both of these are comprehensive plans that include the Parental Control features.”
Some brands of laptops and tablets are better known for having fewer virus and security threats due to their relatively closed ecosystem, but award-winning technology journalist Alice Clarke says there are no guarantees when it comes to laptop security.
“There’s no foolproof way to avoid being hacked, just as there’s no way to completely avoid being robbed,” Alice says. “You just need to be vigilant in making sure you use reputable apps, sites and antivirus software, and don’t give too much personal information away.”
Just as there are different risks to kids at school compared to being at a music festival, it really depends on where your child is hanging out online.
Mark Gorrie says it pays to talk to your children. “If you want to find out what they are doing online, why not ask them?” he says. “Make time to go online together to get a better understanding of what risks they might be exposed to, or what risks they are already aware of.”
From there, discuss expectations, potential risks, and ways to do the things they want to do as safely as possible.
Ready to help your child take the next steps in online safety? Make sure to get them the best device at the best price during our Back To School Sale, either in-store or online.
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