Keeping Your Kids Safe Online

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The security of your computer can affect the safety of your and your children’s online experience. If your kids are online, even with a mobile device, it’s time to talk to your kids about what they can do to help protect your computer and your family’s personal information.

Protecting Personal Information
Examples of what to keep private include Social Security numbers, account numbers, birthdates and passwords. Use strong email passwords and protect them. The longer the password, the harder it is to crack. Personal information like your name, common words and birthdates are not safe passwords. Teach your kids never to share their password with anyone - not even their friends.

There’s a lot of free stuff on the internet, but it often comes with strings attached. Often games, ringtones or other downloads are free because they mine your device for behavioral or personal data. They can also be hiding malware. Monitor what apps your children download, even if they come from a trusted source such as the App Store for iPhones or iPads, or Google Play if they have an Android-equipped device. If the device has parental controls, you may be able to utilize them to prevent your child from downloading apps without your permission. In addition, if you have a family computer, make sure it’s protected by reputable security software.

Do your children download apps to their smartphones? Downloading may give the app's developers access to personal information. The developers may share or sell the information they collect with marketers or other companies. Check the privacy settings of your kids’ devices and apps to see what information the app can access.

Taking these steps is a good start to maintaining the security and privacy of your children’s online experience. But don’t stop here. As smart devices evolve and change, it’s important to stay educated about online security issues. The more informed you are about risks, the better prepared you’ll be to deal with them.

Learn more about fraud and online protection.