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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > October 2020 > October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Online Tips for Parents

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October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Online Tips for Parents

With October being National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office is educating parents and their children with tips to help keep them safe while online especially in light of so many children being on line for extended hours due to COVID.

The theme this year for the national awareness month campaign is “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart,” and parents certainly have an important role to play in protecting their children and themselves as they increasingly do more online and through the internet.

Teaching children wise tips to stay safe online begins with communicating with your kids about how to protect your devices and their personal information. For example,
  • Give your children instructions to protect their personal identifying information, especially including their passwords. Make sure they know not to give this information to friends or to strangers
  • Beware of “free” products or services - such as photo apps and games. Teach your kids that whatever they download could include malware or could pose a threat to their privacy. Never allow your children to download something unless you trust where it’s coming from.
  • Teach children how to develop long, unique passwords or passphrases for any online accounts. The longer, the better since long passwords are harder for hackers to crack. Children shouldn’t use obvious passwords such as their names or personal information that someone could easily guess.
  • Explain that children should not reply to unexpected emails, popups or text messages; that they should not click on links in these communications; and that they should be extremely careful about downloading files or opening unexpected attachments. Know that apps may share your information with other companies. Help your kids learn how to check privacy policies and their privacy settings to better understand what information can be accessed by the app.
As parents, you can review the settings on your devices to determine if you can restrict content that may not be suitable based on your child’s age. You may also be able to set passwords to restrict the downloading of new apps and/or the purchasing of digital items. Also, if you want to restrict use of the
internet entirely, know that you can typically put a device in “airplane mode” or turn off Wi-Fi and data services.

Be sure to update your internet browser, operating system, apps and anti-virus program to ensure you are getting protection against the latest viruses and have installed needed security patches. Then, wherever possible, set your devices to automatically update these programs.

For more information about protecting children while they are online, you can find resources at the Federal Trade Commission.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Initiative offers a parent resource guide to help start conversations with kids about online dangers. It also shares tools to help families stay informed and make smart online decisions.

Consumers who suspect an unfair business practice or want help addressing a consumer problem should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at or 800-282-0515.