Our world of high technology is full of wonderful things but it is also full of danger. As adults, we can usually discern the difference and practice appropriate caution. Our kids haven’t learned to be as discerning yet so the dangers for them is increased. We can help them learn and be safer though.
A good place to start is with online safety. Have regular conversations with your kids about what they should and should not do online, especially in social media. Talk to them about not sharing personal information with anyone online that they do not know personally. Though great friendships can happen online, criminals use it to get unsuspecting people’s personal information to use in a fraudulent manner. Even information that we think is useless to anyone could lead to a criminal guessing your kid’s online account security questions and passwords. Changing passwords on all your kids’ account periodically is not only a good idea but an important safety measure.
Your kids need to learn to be far more selective in “friending” people online than they are off line. You can’t see the people asking to be friended so you don’t know if they are who they say they are or not. Best to be cautious and not friend someone there is any question about. It is important that you talk to your kids about the fact that not everything they see online is true. Some criminals learn enough about your kids to pretend to be someone they know, such as a friend or relative. Teach your kids not to give personal information online even to those who claim to be someone they know. Teach them to instead, call the person and ask them if they asked for information and if so, give it on the phone rather than online.
Sometimes, companies ask kids for personal data. Some are legitimate requests but many are not. Ask the company why they want the information and don’t give it unless their reason checks out. Legitimated companies know about the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and understand that they must get parental approval before collecting information from a child under the age of thirteen. Make sure your kids know not to give any information to companies that press for information without getting approval from parents.
You know that asking for a credit report is a good way to protect yourself but did it ever occur to you to ask for credit reports for your children? You might be thinking that your kids shouldn’t have any credit reports and you would be right. If you ask for one and there isn’t one available, that’s wonderful. If one turns up, your child may well be the victim of identity theft. Identity thieves sometimes specifically target children because of the assumption that children’s identities are relatively safe and are not checked up on since they often don’t have any type of bank or credit account.
These are just a few things you can do to protect your kids personal information but they are important and can go a long way to keep your kids safe.