Cybersecurity expert shares back to school safety tips with parents

Published: Aug. 12, 2015 at 10:46 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 11, 2015 at 10:46 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - One of the nation's leading experts in cybersecurity and IT strategy, Theresa Payton, joined WBTV to give parents some cyber safety tips during the back-to-school season.

Payton is CEO of Fortalice Solutions, a security consulting company. "Online safety. Online security. Protecting yourself, your kids and your business online." That is what's written across Fortalice's blog page, a free parenting resource.

Payton is encouraging parents to be involved in their child's cyber life, saying there is no "one-size-fits-all" when it comes to any one answer for cyber safety parenting.

"An analysis by the NCMEC, shows that approximately 35 percent of attempted abductions of children occurred when the child was going to and from school or school-related activities," according to Fortalice.

Tips from Payton:

  • SAFE ZONE RULE: Create a "safe zone" that encourages your kids to tell you when something has gone wrong on the internet. Kids say they don't tell their parents because they are worried they will get upset or ground them from the internet. Make it safe for them to pull you into their problems.
  • GRANDMOM & BAD GUY RULE:  If you would be embarrassed for your grandmother to see a post or if a bad guy saw it and could use it to hurt you, it does not belong online.
  • "DRIVERS ED" STYLE:  Be their example. You would never throw the car keys and say "drive". Just as you show them how to drive and have them take lessons, do the same for surfing the internet. Before you know it, they can safely drive the internet highway on their own.
  • THAT WAS YESTERDAY'S HOT ITEM:  There's a new app or technology adopted every day. It's a  constantly changing environment, so stay up to date!
  • DON'T SPY BUT BE THERE: Tell your kids you want to use the same apps and play the same games. Tell them you will not spy but you will be monitoring.
  • SAFE SEARCH: Ask your kids to use the safe search tools. Google has a great one at
  • PRIVACY SETTINGS:  Review privacy settings often. You can't do a one and done. Every time an app is updated they often will turn off all the privacy

Popular apps that have recently become popular among teens are Snapchat, Periscope and Meerkat. Snapchat is a messaging app that allows users to send pictures and videos. It puts a time limit on how long the receiver can view the image before it disappears.

Periscope and Meerkat are live-streaming apps. Learn more about cyber safety at

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