Cybersecurity Quick Tips

Protecting Your Bundle of Joy – Cybersecurity Tips for New Parents

You’re having (or just had) your first baby! Congratulations! This is likely an emotion-fueled time for you, with hopefully mostly positive feelings thinking about how your family will grow and change. You and your loved ones are likely coming up with lists about everything that might be needed for the new little bundle of joy — and being that it is the 21st century, you have some different tools at your disposal than that which your parents used to raise you. The smart devices you likely have throughout your home already — smart appliances, virtual assistants, video doorbells, and more — can continue into your baby’s nursery in so many ways. This can be good news, as the point of much of this technology is to make your lives easier, particularly devices for new and growing children and parents. While these devices can be of some assistance, it is important to protect the devices that you have around your child so as to further protect them from the maliciousness of online world.

Baby Monitors

Baby monitors can be a parent’s best friend when they want to keep an eye on their little one but still do something in a separate area of the home at the same time. These devices have advanced quite a bit from when they first came on the scene where they more closely resembled a one-way walkie talkie; now, many monitors have cameras as well and even have functions where the parent can speak to their child over the monitor, like an intercom system. There are even baby monitors now that are actually wearable technology that the baby wears while sleeping and the parent can track their vitals on an app on their phone.

The information tracked on these devices should be treated as though they are almost as precious to you as your newborn baby, because information about your child’s vitals, location, videos of them, and more need to be protected, and that is what these devices gather.

  • Change the default settings on your devices — All devices leave the distribution facility with default settings which remain the same until you purchase and take home the device. Once you get home with the device and set it up, be sure to override the default settings and make your own password so that a malicious actor cannot use another device with default settings to gain access to your monitor. This applies to all new devices you bring home, even if they are not meant for baby, because any vulnerable device on your networks is a threat for your all of your home’s Internet devices.
  • Use unique passwords for each device — When updating your new devices from their default settings, be sure to use a complex, unique password for each device. Of course, the though of trying to remember another password, particularly with the lack of sleep that can sometimes accompany a young baby, can seem like a lot to ask. To make your life easier, but still safe, use a password database on either your phone or laptop. This way, you only need to remember one password for the whole database, but you can still protect your devices.
  • Keep your WiFi network secure — Keeping all of your devices secure is a strong step in keeping your home and family secure from the malicious actors out there in the world. However, all of this is for naught if you do not take the necessary steps to secure your WiFi network. Use a strong, secure password and be aware of all devices connected to your networks (you can check this online with your Internet provider). If you do not recognize devices, boot them immediately. Additionally, use high quality, secure modems in order to further your security even more.
  • Register your monitor — To keep your monitor and other devices up-to-date with updates put out by the company who manufactured it, register your device with said business. This way, you will stay in the loop.

Protecting Your Child’s Data Online

In addition to protecting baby monitors and other smart devices within your home, it is important to prioritize protecting your child’s data and privacy while online. As a baby, your child’s online presence is entirely in the hands of others. You may be excited to post a photo of your baby (of course!) but you may want to consider setting all of your profiles to private. Regardless of your privacy settings on your profile, you will likely want to comb through your current friends and followers lists and ensure that all of those people are individuals who you are comfortable with viewing content related to your child.

Each parent will approach sharing online differently, but it should be up to the parent of the child to decide. Meaning, let friends and family who visit you know that they need to ask you for permission before posting photos of your child on their social media sites, where folks who you do not know could have access to them. Again, each family will have a different level of comfort with social media, but do not assume that your approach for your family is the same for another.

Similar to parenting, navigating the online realm is hard; as long as you do your best to stay safe, you are doing something right!

Image by wayhomestudio for Freepik.