BBB tips for online safety
Summer is here and kids are off from school, which could mean more time spent online. It is more important than ever to take steps to make sure your kids and your family’s personal information are kept safe. Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York has tips and information to keep your family safe online this summer.
Online threats include cyberbullying, cyber predators, oversharing of information, scams, and malware or other data breaches.
“Parents protect their children from all types of real world threats, so it is important to protect them online as well,” said Warren Clark, BBB of Upstate New York president. “Parents should be aware of who their children are communicating with and what is being said. We hear so many times parents are shocked finding their child is communicating very differently online than they would have expected.”
BBB offers a family internet safety checklist to keep your family’s private information safe:
- Talk to your kids. Have conversations about practicing online safety. Don’t wait for your kids to come to you, use everyday opportunities to talk about it.
- Set family rules. Communicate your expectations and keep track of your kid’s passwords. Set clear online behavior expectations for your kids and explain how they apply in an online context. For example, be specific about what is off limits and what you consider inappropriate behavior.
- Monitor their social media presence. Parents should know where their kids have accounts or profiles and what information they are sharing. Creating their accounts for them can help parents maintain better control.It’s important to verify app and game privacy policies and opt out options. Make sure apps are downloaded from reliable sources.
- Check privacy settings and consider parental controls. Regularly review the privacy and security policies on the websites your children frequent. Websites change default privacy settings from time to time – and parents will want to know who can see a social media profile, as well as what information might be shared with marketers or strangers. Consider parental controls such as time limits and controls that limit what content is accessible.
- Review common online scam red flags. Make sure your kids know not to click on unsolicited links that appear on their screens or in emails, or social media offers that sound too good to be true. If they are not sure, make sure they ask an adult. Often times, infected emails will appear to be from someone you or they know. If this is the case, it’s best to email or call the person to see if they meant to send you the message.
More resources on internet safety for your family can be found at bbb.org.