Being a parent has never been easy, but there are new challenges in the digital era. On top of everything else, now you have to protect your family's data online, too. Because when children use the Internet, apps, and social media sites, they don't understand the risks they could face. As a result, they might even be putting your family's personal and financial information at risk and are there even Easy Ways to Protect Your Family's Data Online?
The Internet can be a scary place for parents, yet it's pretty much impossible to avoid the Internet altogether. Half the planet is online, kids grow up with smartphones from a young age, and mobile Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) will hit 1 billion users this year. That means your children will encounter a lot of strangers online, unless you teach them how to protect themselves. Keep reading for Easy Ways to Protect Your Family's Data Online.
First of all, you may be wondering who is trying to steal your information and what they’d do with it once they have it. However, hackers trying to steal your identity and credit card numbers aren't the only entities trying to get their hands on your data. Unfortunately, you may also have to protect your family's data online from corporations as well as cyber thieves.Virtually every app, website, and social media site you use is collecting your data. New apps can gain access to your online profiles or email, and even access data from people in your online networks.
Common Sense Media warns that companies scrape this type of information for marketing purposes. They will take your habits, preferences, and purchase history and use that as a way to help them keep making money. So, now that you know hackers aren’t the only ones who can gain access to your information, how can you keep your data safe from everyone?
According to CNN, for any account you or your child may have like a social media account, email account, or shopping site account, you should always make sure to make your passwords difficult to guess and consistently change them. The password should have a combination of letters and numbers and include a special character or two. For example, if you love dogs, try something like “eyeluvd0g$” instead of “ilovedogs.” It’s a simple phrase you’ll remember, but it’ll be hard for hackers to figure out. Common Sense Media also urges Internet users to change their password at least once every six months. If you do this, anyone who may have guessed your password won’t have access to it for very long.
CNN also suggests something that might seem a little paranoid, but even Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg reportedly does it. They suggest covering your computer’s camera with something like a sticky note or sticker. Unfortunately, hackers can break into your hardware’s camera and watch your every move, so it’s important to do this to prevent your privacy from being invaded.
You should also get into the habit of frequently checking your privacy settings. Sites like Facebook allow you to check to see where you’ve logged on and if your password was recently changed. If you do find that someone is logged in from California and you haven’t been there nor lived there, you can change your password and log them out. Also, check your messages to see if anyone has tried to communicate with your networks. In addition, these privacy settings will tell you what kind of information these companies can collect.
Finally, don't be afraid to snoop! Yes, that sounds harsh, but ultimately it's necessary if you want to protect your kids online. To keep them safe, you have to know what they're doing. And unless they pay for their own smartphone, laptop, or Internet, you have every right to monitor their online behavior.
Used correctly, the Internet and social media can help keep us safe. In fact, during the East Coast earthquake in 2011, NYC residents saw Twitter alerts about the activity 20 seconds before it hit their location. The word “earthquake” appeared in status updates of three million Facebook users within four minutes of the quake. While technology can keep us safe and alert us to potential danger, it’s important to make sure we’re using it with respect for both the platform and ourselves. Being safe online is key to helping you protect your family's data online.