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Tips For Keeping Your Kids Safe Online

Posted In Home Technology & Gadgets, Security - By Techtiplib on Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 With No Comments »

Try as you might to get your kids out in the sun and fresh air this summer, they’re doubtless still spending a lot of time online playing games and texting with their friends. You’d probably be watching them like a hawk if they were swimming or jumping on a trampoline, but are you as careful about what they’re doing with their phones and other electronic devices?

Computer Glasses

For sure you’ve taught your kids to look both ways before they cross the street, you’ve told them not to talk to strangers, and you’re careful to make sure they’re prepared for all sorts of situations that might be unsafe. But are you letting them go online without knowing how to protect themselves against the scammers and other cybercriminals who are out there and anxious to exploit them?

Even if you’re using parental controls and filters and all the family’s devices are subscribed to a premium services bundle for cybersecurity, there are still things your kids need to know about keeping themselves safe when they’re using their phones, their laptops, and their other electronic gadgets.

You should start by reminding them that although devices are fun to play games on, they are not toys. And just like in the movies, there are some bad people on the internet. Any time they are connected, there is the possibility that those bad people will try to make trouble for them and sometimes even for the whole family.

There’s no reason to scare them silly, but even the youngest kids have seen enough villains in cartoons to know that the heroes and heroines win when they use their super powers for good. So here are some super powers your kids can use:

Use Passwords With Muscle

Passwords are meant to be secret, so kids shouldn’t use the names of their pets or other things that are easy to guess at. On the other hand, they do have to be able to remember them, because while passwords can be written down safe at home, they shouldn’t be stuck to their smart phones or other devices. And under no circumstances should they tell their passwords to anyone but you.

One way to do it is to come up with a whole phrase and use numbers or symbols in place of some of the letters and between some words. Make them longer than 12 places, and include at least one capital letter. Something on the order of !Love2eat*piZZa*, for example.

Keep Personal Information Private

Super heroes are careful to conceal their true identities. Your kids can do the equivalent of that by never ever giving their most personal information out on social media. That means first names only, and no home addresses or names of their schools. Even if they’re only texting or on social media with their friends, the information can be hacked, and it’s not hard for someone to put two and two together and know more about your child and family than you want them to.

Be Honorable

What’s not decent behavior in person isn’t decent online, either. Super heroes have a code of conduct and they don’t hide behind their capes to make unkind comments about other people. Not one of them would be a cyber bully or troll someone. And if they receive something mean about another person, they’d never forward it on.

Think Ahead

A child doesn’t have the understanding to see far enough ahead and know that the result of actions they take today can affect their lives well into the future. Make sure they know that absolutely anything and everything they post online will be there forever. Some goofy things might just be embarrassing later on, but the older the kids are, the more likely it is that their comments and photos will be seen by school admissions officers and potential employers.

Be Cautious

Kids shouldn’t download documents or funny videos from their friends or anywhere else without talking to you about it first. Apps should be downloaded only from verified sources. A good rule for you as well as your kids is to disable Wi-Fi access by default and connect only to reputable Wi-Fi hotspots.

You can’t protect your kids from everything out there, but you can prepare them to be online as safely as possible. As a parent, that’s your super power.

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