Many people today love being on the Internet, especially through their phones and their tablets. Adults often think that it’s just kids that are obsessed with technology, but if they are being honest, they probably spend just as much time in front of a screen. Parents still worry, though, and their worry is often about just how safe their children and teens are when they are on the web. They also worry about their privacy.
A large number of the younger generation are far savvier than the adults when it comes to online privacy and safety. However, that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t use some reminders on how to stay safe on the web. The following are some tips that will come in handy for kids and teens, and even adults, who want to find ways to improve their online privacy and security.
The Internet is a great place where people can connect with friends, as well as with people they have never met before. You want to make sure that you let your children know that they always need to be careful with the type of information that they are sharing for their online privacy and safety, as well as for their safety offline.
Kids also need to realize that what they are posting has the potential to last forever. Even if they delete certain items and information that they do not want out there, it is still technically there and can be found in caches, archives, and more. In fact, in the brief time that the content might have been up, there is still a chance that someone may have seen it and either screen captured or downloaded it.
Think about some of the ridiculous things that people have posted online or thought about posting online. Now think about what it is going to look like when a prospective employer starts to research the applicant.
Along the same lines, people need to be aware of what is being shared about them, such as photos and video of them online. When information is shared in photos or videos, there is always the chance that personal info, such as where a person lives, goes to school, or spends time hanging out and be found.
Understand What Information Is Being Collected
Whenever personal information is being collected, it is important to know who is receiving that information and what they are doing with it. Whether it is a person’s name, phone number, address, or other information, there is value to it. You need to know whether the company you are choosing to give that information to is going to be responsible for that information.
For example, those who like to play online games might find some free game apps that they can use, as long as they provide their email address and name. However, if the company offering the game turns around and sells that information, it could mean that the player is going to start getting a lot of unsolicited emails.
Do Not Trust everyone you meet online
When kids and teens meet people online, whether they are asking for personal information or to meet with them, it is important to instill the sense that they should not trust these people. Even though the people they meet online might have no ill intention, there is no way to know that for sure. Therefore, it is always best to proceed with caution in everything that they do online.
Many kids and teens have not been exposed to all of the scams that are coming through emails, and that could even be present on websites today. Clicking on links that they do not know, whether it is through an email from a sender they do not know, or through a site that they do not know, can open them up to attacks from hackers via malware. Parents should teach their children how to spot and avoid phishing scams and make them well aware that there are no princes in Nigeria that need their help.
Secure Your Devices With Passwords
All of your devices need to have passwords, and you might even want to consider having the kids utilize two-factor authentication for even more safety. Good passwords will help to keep most people out of the devices if they were to find or steal them, which means the data on the device is going to be safe.
Teach the kids the importance of having passwords, and of making those passwords strong. Additionally, they should not be using the same password for multiple devices or services, and they should be changing up the passwords regularly.
Be Careful in Public WiFi Spots
Public WiFi is great, as it means the kids won’t be eating up too much data. However, it can also be a threat. It is easy for hackers and thieves to use public WiFi as a way to steal information from laptops, phones, and tablets that are not fully secured. It is important that those who are using public WiFi to think about what they are doing and the type of information that they are sharing at that time. They do not want just anyone getting access to the information.
Those who are often using WiFi spots might want to consider getting and using a VPN, or virtual private network. This can encrypt all of the data and make sure that no one has access to it. They are easy to use and only cost a couple of dollars a month. For most, they tend to be well worth the cost thanks to the additional privacy that they can offer. They could be a good choice for your family, as well.
When you teach your children to follow some simple safety protocols, it will help them improve their online privacy and safety. It will also give you a bit more peace of mind.