My kids watch their parents work 40 hours a week or more at their computer. It's only natural that they get curious and insist on fiddling with the big box and shiny screen that mommy and daddy seem to stare at so intently. I'm perfectly fine with my kids exploring the internet (to a point) but there are some rules to ensure internet safety for kids. Here are 6 quick and simple rules that will help out your kids and maybe even some less tech-savvy adults in the family with staying safe online.
Speaking of staying safe online, make sure your kid isn't attempting any of these 10 dangerous TikTok challenges!
The first and probably the easiest to understand is securing passwords on all of the accounts you use online. A huge majority of the population uses the same password for every single account they have online which can mean major problems if it ends up compromised. Did you get phished on Facebook?
If your passwords are all the same they can try logging into Gmail, PayPal, Twitter, Amazon, absolutely anywhere! Two-factor authentication can't always save you from yourself. This turns a small problem into a major one in no time flat. Always ensure your passwords are secure and change them up a few times per year.
If your memory is poor like mine then a password management service or USB dongle is a very worthy investment.
Two Factor Authentication
Most services are implementing some sort of two-factor authentication and that is a great thing. It can seem like a hassle needing to pull out your phone every time you try to make a transaction but these few extra seconds can save you years of agony if your password does end up compromised.
You probably don't know, but I am an avid gamer. My Steam account has almost 3000 games on it, so it's a relatively hot target for hackers. This time last year my phone started going crazy with notifications to make purchases, giveaway items, and change the password. Thanks to two-factor authentication I was able to circumvent everything attempted and change my password.
Invest in yourself and your safety and take the time to turn on two-factor authentication. You might not need it, but it's definitely better safe than sorry.
Recovery Phone Numbers
In the same vein as two-factor authentication, we have recovery phone numbers. If you end up locked out of your account this can be a quick and easy way to regain access via your cellphone if you need to. These are generally used much less often, but this is still a great one for your children's online safety.
It can also apply to keeping safe in the real world! We all used to know our home phone numbers as kids, but I doubt many kids do these days. Heck, probably less and less adults know it as well... It's all stored in the cellphone, but what happens if your little one ends up alone and without a phone?
Practice memorizing phone numbers! It's still a vital skill. We can't depend on the machines for everything, can we??
Speaking of slight annoyances that are for your own good, let's talk about software updates! I know, I know... You see the notification that you're due for yet ANOTHER update and roll your eyes, but these updates aren't pushed out just for fun! While some are unnecessary redesigns that make me want to gouge my own eyes out, others are security updates that are very important to you and your kid's safety online.
While not every update is required, I find it's best to just let things auto-update as much as possible. This will significantly lessen any security exploits that might be lurking on your phone or computer. My daughter is in charge of informing me about updates. I only wish I could get that excited for updating Java. Another thing she gets excited for is no-tie curly shoelaces, but I agree with her on that one! These things are awesome!
Don't put off software updates. You definitely don't want to find out about those security loopholes that should've been patched the hard way.
Google Security Checkups
At least a couple of times per year you should head over to Google Security and ensure that you have some alternate recovery methods. You also have the ability to determine which apps have access to your date and it's a relatively simple matter to revoke that access from this page.
It might be overkill to do this more than a few times per year, unless you are digging into the far corners of the internet for the latest and greatest games and apps. The number of apps that would still have access to my data if I didn't go through Google Security is probably nearing the thousands.
Keep yourself secure online by setting up recovery methods and revoking access to your information from apps that you no longer use.
The Known Unknowns
Now, if your kids spend enough time online they're going to stumble into something that they shouldn't. I don't just mean dirty pictures, I'm talking about the messages from strangers, weird pop-ups offering free Fortnite V-Bucks, trojan-infested malware masquerading as a free Minecraft download. These things are all out there and children are notoriously gullible.
Explain to your child the basics, not to talk to strangers or download anything without explicit permission. Adding to that, you should teach them that it's OK to come to either of their parents if they encounter something strange or new. Anything that doesn't look quite right or is too good to be true needs to be handled by mom and dad. If needed you can shoehorn yourself between your kids and the PC. Speaking of shoehorns, we have a pair of rainbow metal shoe horns that kids will love!
Don't doubt your friends here at Silly Feet, but do realize that a healthy amount of skepticism is a great boon for anyone who spends a fair amount of time online.
Always think before you click!