With so much of our socially distanced lives playing out digitally these days, it's easy to blur the line between sharing and oversharing online. If it's been a while since you've talked with your kids about online safety – or you've gotten a little complacent yourself – you'll want to review these six important reminders.
- Update your privacy settings. Don't just assume an online network's default privacy settings are the right ones for you. Limit viewing of social accounts only to people on your kids' friends list, and make sure kids only friend people they know in the real world. Investigate the free parental controls and content blockers already built into the hardware, applications and browsers your kids use.
- Take advantage of updates as soon as they're available. Don't be tempted to keep clicking "install later," since many updates also patch newly discovered holes in security.
- Avoid using your actual name as a screen name. It would be much harder for someone to track down your child as "Skatr234" than it would be to find them using all or part of their real name. The same is true for including a city or school name as part of a screen identity.
- Safeguard even seemingly innocent information. You'd never share things like your financial information or Social Security number. But what could be the harm in telling someone the name of your pet? Or commiserating about your clunker first car? Those tidbits of information could be surprisingly useful to a phisher looking to impersonate you online, since they're often used by banks and retailers as the security questions for forgotten passwords. Online "just for fun" surveys commonly ask questions that have unique-to-you answers, and you have no control of who sees that information on the other end.
- Discuss what makes a photo appropriate. It's not just risqué bathing suit and red plastic cup pictures you need to worry about. Does the background in a photo give away more information than it should? For example, does it include valuables that could encourage a thief to target your home? Does it show school banners or other information that could give away your physical location? Does it indicate the presence of a young child or other vulnerable person in the house?
- Keep your child's information private. This is a hard one for proud parents! Your child's birthday, school, teacher, academic achievements and afterschool activities not only could give an identity thief valuable information. They could put your child in physical danger if they would allow a criminal to impersonate YOU to your child, perhaps luring your child to a location by making them think they were communicating with you.
Also check out this bonus resource: Our partners at CyberScout* remind parents and kids to P-A-U-S-E to stay safe online.
As a PEMCO policyholder, you and family members living in your home are protected by PEMCO ID Smart™, an identity-fraud assistance service you receive at no extra charge. If you think you might be a victim of identity theft or just have questions, call 800-GO-PEMCO 24 hours a day to be connected with a fraud advocate.
*CyberScout is the company that powers PEMCO ID Smart. It's the leader in fraud resolution and identity management. When you call, you get the same professional identity management service that banks, credit unions and corporations rely on.
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