The virtual world poses almost as many dangers to your kids as does the real world. Even if the dangers to kids seem to get extra bad press, the hype also carries a fair amount of truth. It's impossible for ISP's and governments to guarantee a completely safe online financial safety. Parents look out for their children in the real world, and they should also be supervising their activities in the online world.
The growth of the Internet over the years has proven to be an excellent resource for kids, offering both entertainment and knowledge. Kids can access the internet from so many different places today, not just at home. Smartphones and even the youngest of children seem to own one, can give them internet access any time of the day.
How Can Parents Protect Their Children Online?
While kids need a certain amount of privacy in the real world, they also can do with some parental involvement and guidance. It's a good thing if you can strike a balance between their online and offline activities. If you have any concerns about their online activities, you should discuss that with them.
Becoming Involved in Children's Online Life
By becoming involved in what your kids do, you can help to avoid problems. Many parents seem to shy away from technology using the excuse that they don't understand it or have no idea. If you are not sure about what's going on or how it works, you can ask the child's teacher or a friend that knows a bit about the internet.
Important! If your child tells you about an upsetting message, website or person online, offer advice on how to avoid this in the future. Your reaction will help set up some positive communication between you and your child if something similar happens in the future.
As kids get more familiar with things they do on the internet, they should also be made aware of the dangers concerning financial matters. These days children are even doing their shopping online, so some guidance and rules about personal and financial information are strongly advised.
Cybercriminals are always online looking for a way to steal personal details and your financial information. Every day, there is a new scam being created and perpetuated. And children are not so experienced to spot a fake attachment or a survey operated by a questionable website that is requesting a lot of personal data.
You can easily show your kids that by clicking on a link can unleash a virus. The emails asking for details or saying that you have won a prize is called "phishing." Another problem you encounter on our computers is pop-ups. You can incorporate security software to block most pop-ups, and even Chrome has an Adblocker as an extension.
Do You Check Your Statements?
Credit card and bank statements can be accessed online if you have set up an online account. It's advisable to check these regularly so that you are sure all transactions are yours. It's possible for cybercriminals to get hold of your child's personal details such as birthdate and social security number and set up false accounts.
The repercussions of that can affect any future financial dealings your child might want to conduct later in life. Another check you can do is looking at your credit reports. They are free to look at once a year on the three major credit bureaus - Transunion, Equifax, and Experian.
Maintain Privacy With Your Financial Information
Children, unless educated in financial matters, really don't have a clue about what information is of value to a cybercriminal. Despite the kids not really understanding the intricacies of finance, parents still allow them to shop online, with a 53% of them doing it without parental consent.
Some of the personal information that needs to be kept private includes:
- Social Security Number
- Email Address
- Phone Number
- Home Address
- Passwords – this should go without saying
Important!Personal and financial information and details should never be shared unless you know that the site is 100% trustworthy.
No Online Shopping From Unfamiliar Sites
Always take some time to check out a website as best you can before providing your credit card details when making a purchase. All sites you deal with should have https rather than http. There will also be a padlock icon in the address bar. There are some logos on websites that handle e-commerce, and these will show what security and encryption levels they have.
Purchasing Controls on Smartphones and Computers
The fact that most children these days own a smartphone makes it difficult to control purchasing access, but you might try the following:
1Set up the phone security settings so that downloading apps will be restricted or would require additional approval. Read some reviews regarding any installed up before starting to use them.
2Make sure all purchases on any device will require authentication. Allocate some time once in a while to check and re-check these security settings to ensure they are all up to date and offer you the right protection.
3Set a simple rule - no online purchases without permission. Online purchases should be done together with an adult who would be able to recognize if the site is secure or not,
4Set strong passwords for your devices. This is another important strategy to ensure that nobody can access them if stolen or lost. Needless to say, passwords should be changed frequently.
Warning!Public Wi-Fi networks are not safe unless you have a program that cloaks your activity, such as a VPN. Tell your kids that inputting sensitive information when using a Wi-Fi network is almost an invitation for a hacker. Cybercriminals are keeping pace with new devices and new security technology, and this is extending to mobile devices. Always beware of virus infections when using your mobile devices.