Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Internet Safety - The Password Dilemma

Parents want their children to be safe at all times – especially on the Internet.  What it means to be safe in our globally connected world changes as children mature and grow older. It’s absolutely vital that children participate with Technology – their future and their jobs will depend on it as a foundation.  However, they need to know how to be safe and how to be responsible for their own safety and security.   Below are a few tips to help keep your children’s electronic information safe.   Have a conversation with your children today: 

  • Teaching children at an early age how to make a strong password is vital.  Teach your children not to pick: birthdates, graduation years, last four digits of phone number, last four digits of SSN, and especially no home addresses.
  • Instead, teach your children how to pick random passwords, and how important it is to keep it private.  Most importantly, do not use the same codes for other systems. If someone hacks one code, or if your child tells someone the code, they then don’t have access to all of your other systems.  Children are notorious for sharing secret codes with their closest friends. If they share one code, what else are they getting access to?
  • Model for them from an early age:  Turn on your password protected screen saver.  It can be bothersome when trying to get work done but it is one of the most important parts of security.
  • Middle school age children are very impressionable from peer pressure.  It’s important that you continue to talk with them regularly about their Internet safety and password management as they mature and as the technology continues to change and develop. 
  • Although you may not allow your child to be on social media, you have no way of knowing or controlling their usage at a friend's home. Therefore, talking with your children about their safety is important whether your child is on Facebook at home or not.  Children should not accept unknown friend requests on Facebook even if they have mutual friends or go to the same school. Teach your children not to give out numbers, addresses or other personal information through social websites. This may not be news to you, but many parents forget to have this discussion with their children.
  • Turn your “location” settings off. It is extremely important that our children are not displaying to the world their location. A lot of times apps will even display the location of your home every time your child Tweets or uses Facebook. Also, there are apps that will automatically update your location even if you aren’t currently using that app. 

Although the younger generations seem to be more up-to-date with technology these days, one area they are very naive with is their personal safety and their digital footprint.  Talk with your children and help their future be bright with technology as a pivotal foundation.

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