Keep your family safe online

By on May 13, 2019

Soon kids will be home from school on summer vacation. While parents are at work kids may find themselves spending more time online. Help keep your family safe with these online privacy tips provided by the National Missing and Exploited Children Center.

To ensure their safety, teach children what is okay and what is not okay to share online. Privacy means something different to children, teens and grownups. The Internet encourages them to share personal information. As much as it can be fun, it can also present some risks and can put children in vulnerable positions. Some things not to share include: passwords, addresses (home and school), their locations, school name, and phone numbers. Often victims of an online scam have had their identities stolen by sharing this kind of information. 

Be sure to discuss privacy settings with your family. Most social media sites have settings for privacy. Encourage kids to adjust these settings so that only those who are approved can see what they share.

Be aware of location tags. Some phones and sites use GPS to track users. Be sure this is disabled.  

Teach children how to create strong passwords. Explain that passwords should be more than eight characters, and teach them acronyms or songs to help remember them. 

Help kids avoid online scams. Explain that scams often target children and teens promising money or prizes in exchange for personal information. Tell them to always contact an adult before providing any personal information.  

Use these discussion starters to talk about protecting privacy online.

•Why do you think it’s important to only add friends you know in real life on social media?

•Do you know how to change your privacy settings on social media websites and apps?

•Do you know how to disable location-tagging on your phone or in the apps you use?

•Have you ever seen a pop-up or ad that asked you for personal information? What did you do?

•How easy do you think your passwords are to guess? Do you know how to make them stronger?

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