October is almost here. That means Halloween, a time when everyone likes to let out a little inner weird and dive headfirst into the candy bowl. But as parents, we worry. We fret about being out after dark, opened candy and making sure our kids are protected from strangers. We put on our thinking caps and start planning tips to help our little goblins and ghouls stay safe during the holiday. My advice? Start stocking up on reflective tape and glow sticks for trick or treat time!
Even on a daily basis we do everything we can to keep our families safe. We lock our doors, remind our kids to wear their bike helmets and look both ways before they cross the street. We drive vehicles with multiple air bags and safety features and ensure the kids are probably buckled into their correctly installed car seats.
But what about cyber safety? We live in a digital world where, by the year 2016, there will be 1.4 mobile devices per person on the planet. Communication is no longer about hand-writing letters, hanging out by the fence with the neighbors and chatting on a landline phone.
A survey released last spring showed that most children get their first cell phone at the young age of six. The same report also asked parents to identify other technology that had been purchased for their children. Seventy-five percent also have a tablet, and 51 percent had a gaming console.
So the question becomes, are we doing all we should to educate ourselves and our children about how to be safe online? The best step in the right direction is to mark your calendar for every day in October and get ready to participate in National Cyber Security Awareness Month.
National Cyber Security Awareness Month
In October 2004, a collaborative effort formed between government and industry to raise awareness for cybersecurity, and National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) was created. Each October participants are introduced to a wealth of resources to help us stay safer and more secure online.
StaySafeOnline.org, powered by the National Security Alliance, is one the very best ways to stay connected with all things NCSAM during the October celebration and all throughout the year while we protect ourselves and our families in the connected world.
There are several ways to get involved via social media, at your work or school and even at home. Check out this infographic to preview the themes for each week of NCSAM and read up on other ways to help educate yourself and your community on the ins and outs of cyber safety.
But even before you discover new ways to get involved with NCSAM there are some ways to review your own cyber habits. Check out STOP. THINK. CONNECT., the global cybersecurity education and awareness campaign, for an excellent list of tips and advice for anyone to review and put into practice.
Remember it’s up to all of us to take responsibility for our cybersecurity.
About the Author
C. A. Newberry is a graduate of Boise State University. She is fascinated with the advances of technology and its effect on the future of society.