Get Cybersecurity Advice from Fairy Tale Heroes

If you want your kids to take cybersecurity seriously, make the talk relatable. And who’s more relatable to kids than fairy tale heroes?

 

Uncle Ben’s immortal words, “With great power comes great responsibility”, are just as applicable to cybersecurity as they are to fighting crime in webbed leggings. Having all the information you need at your fingertips anytime, anywhere, is an incredible power, and your kids need to know how to use it responsibly.

 

Teaching cybersecurity to kids and keeping their attention might be a challenge. But, you can tell them we interviewed 10 top fairy tale characters and asked them about being safe online. Here’s what we’ve learned.

Hansel and Gretel

The story of two siblings desperately trying to return home though no one wants them there is heartbreaking and scary. The only thing that keeps it so appealing is, of course, the house made of candy. Who hasn’t dreamed of taking a bite from it? But “free” doesn’t mean “safe”.

☝️ Key takeaway

The internet may seem like a tempting house made of candy, but it’s also a place of lurking witches aka dangerous hackers.

😎 Pro tip

Teach your kids to beware of computer viruses and stay away from the dark corners of the internet "forest" without an antivirus. Remember that free games, ringtones, or other downloads can be hiding malware inside. So your kids shouldn’t be downloading anything unless they trust the source and have scanned it with security software.

Little Red Riding Hood

Another classic creepy tale is good old Red Riding Hood. Don’t get us started on the whole “little girl wandering alone in the woods” thing. 

And even when, against all odds, she reaches her grandmother’s home safely, the granny isn’t who Red thought she was.

☝️ Key takeaway

On the internet, things aren’t always what they seem. A wolf in a nightgown and a cap can look exactly like Little Red Riding Hood's grandma. And so can phishing websites.

😎 Pro tip

Websites made for phishing are rarely convincing. They can feel a little suspicious – just like the giant teeth looked odd on the granny. Teach your kids to spot phishing emails and stay away from things that don't look authentic.

Squirrel from Ice Age

Remember when Scrat, the prehistoric squirrel from Ice Age, cracked a glacier trying to stash their acorn? Just like that, a tiny thing you post or engage with on the internet can grow to become a huge problem with devastating consequences.

☝️ Key takeaway

You may be thinking that the Delete button can make everything go away. Unfortunately, though, once something is posted on the internet, there’s no way to really delete it. And that is because storing data on servers is much easier than deleting it. You also can’t control what other people save to their computers or who makes screenshots of what.

😎 Pro tip

Tell your kids to always think before publishing something online, otherwise they risk being caught up in futile attempts to get their precious “acorns” back. We can’t stress this enough: once your kids (and you) post something online, you won’t be able to take it back. The internet never forgets.

Cinderella

Ah, yes. The classic of all classics: the tale of a girl who only left one shoe behind, and the prince still found her. How romantic! And creepy. No name, no address – just a glass slipper, and he managed to track down the girl he only danced with once! Talk about being overly attached.

☝️ Key takeaway

Everything your kids do online leaves a trace. While the trace may look barely noticeable, it will lead to the person who left it. Just like it only took a shoe to find Cinderella, bits of information your kids share online can lead straight to them and your family.

😎 Pro tip

Again, remind your kids to be careful when sharing information online. You won’t believe how easy it is for cybercriminals to create a wholesome profile of a person based on the tiny details they pick up online.

 

Tell your kids to never share extensive information on social media (geolocation, real name, personal and meaningful hashtags, etc.). They should also be careful when sharing their screen or streaming games. If they post something, teach them to double-check if there are any personal details shown. Things worked out for Cinderella, but you’re not in a fairy tale.

Dawn Bellwether

Zootopia is a masterpiece. Hands down. The cartoon is so carefully crafted that no one could ever expect the plot twists. And the final one – when the recently appointed Mayor Bellwether turned out to be behind the evil scheme that allowed the prey rule over the predators – was brilliant! 

She wouldn’t have done it though without her image of an innocent, underappreciated sheep. So beware of the “sheep” on the internet.

☝️ Key takeaway

Someone as friendly and cheerful as a sheep may be just using this facade to cover up evil intentions.

😎 Pro tip

Stranger danger works in the digital realm too. It’s never too late to tell your children to avoid befriending strangers on social media – as well as in real life. This will keep your identity safe and mind peaceful. You never know who is on the other side and if the person is really a 14-year-old boy.

The Little Mermaid

Poor unfortunate souls online are just as subjunctive to bullying as in real life. Just like Ariel fell under the sea witch’s spell, your kids risk falling under the influence of cyberbullies.

☝️ Key takeaway

Life is tricky enough, without having to listen to what bullies say. Ursula manipulated Ariel into signing a contract on terrible terms. And we all know how that ended.

😎 Pro tip

Digitalization hit every part of our lives. Sadly, this includes bullying. So be sure to remind your kids to stay away from cyberbullies and warn them against becoming one themselves. It’s so easy to hurt someone’s feelings online and equally alluring to not have to face any consequences. Don’t fall under the spell.

The Incredibles

There’s a reason why The Incredibles hit so close to home, and that fans have been waiting to see the sequel for 14 years. The cartoon is about love, family, and support. And Jack Jack. It shows us what real values are and that they’re as important as ever.

☝️ Key takeaway

No matter what comes your way, those who will always support you are most likely sitting beside you.

😎 Pro tip

Parents are superheroes. Sure, they may not be able to fly their kids to school or cook dinner using laser vision, but their love and support are supernatural. Encourage your children to never be afraid to talk to you about whatever confuses them, both offline and online. An open and honest conversation can save them from some dire consequences.

Snow White

The classic tale of Snow White snoozing while Prince Charming meets her and decides to marry her lifeless body is as disturbing as it is reassuring. What? You go to sleep as a servant for seven tiny guys, and you wake up a princess! Sleep is bliss, and your laptop can vouch for that.

☝️ Key takeaway

The Sleep mode has its benefits: you can meet your prince this way. But most importantly, when your laptop is in the sleep mode, strangers can’t access it.

😎 Pro tip

Teach your kids to always lock their laptops whenever they leave them unattended. Sending your laptop into the sleep mode is as easy as closing the lid. But be sure that their user profile has pin code or password protection enabled.

The Three Little Pigs

Speaking of protection, a false sense of security can do more harm than good. 

Just like the two little pigs who were sure their straw and stick houses were safe, your kids may think their passwords are so original there’s no way someone could hack them. I mean, who else would think of making the word ‘password’ their actual password, right?

☝️ Key takeaway

If you’re serious about cybersecurity, you have to be serious about the means that protect you. The house made of straw doesn’t even come close to protecting you as well as the one made of stone. But it does give a false sense of digital security for kids and adults.

😎 Pro tip

Password recklessness is a serious problem for millennials. Your kids should know what strong passwords look like and how to change easy ones to strong ones.

Mulan

Who is that girl I see? Or is it not a girl? And where are you from, exactly? Mulan disguised herself as a man to protect her father. Just like a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that disguises your internet traffic to protect your digital identity. A VPN can make a man out of you – figuratively, of course. 

So if you want to access geo-restricted information or hide your identity online, you need a VPN. But not the free one.

☝️ Key takeaway

Some things in life (or on the web) aren’t easily accessible. They require us to have a trick up our sleeve to get what we want. In the online realm, this trick is having a VPN installed.

😎 Pro tip

A little disguise never killed nobody (even Mulan got away with pretending to be a man). So if you can’t access some geo-restricted content, it’s okay to enable a VPN. Also, make sure to have it on whenever you connect to an unsecured Wi-Fi network. All in all, you can tell your kids that knowing how to use VPNs wisely brings honor to us all.

 

* * *

 

Who would have thought that fairy tale characters can give us some good advice on staying safe online? We’ve gathered these tips on internet security for kids who love cartoons and fairy tales because we acknowledge the importance of teaching online safety from a young age.

 

If you’re also looking for pieces of cybersecurity advice for grownups, check out our blog and, like Gazelle from Zootopia said, “Try everything!”

 

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