We often teach our children the lessons we learned ourselves when we were children.
- Look both ways before crossing the street.
- Do not talk to strangers.
- Wash your hands before eating (true these days now more than ever).
Most of these lessons are about protecting our children. But today, as parents, we have a vast new world to explain and protect our children from, one that our parents never had to worry about the Internet.
Today’s children are growing up connected to the Internet from the moment they are born; think about the many photos of newborn babies you have seen on social media. Anyone who has seen a young child surf an iPad or browse YouTube videos understands how children innately click on devices. And today’s teens wouldn’t be caught without a smartphone.
It is a constant emotional battle for many of us. On the one hand, we might wish we could go back to simpler times, ditch social media, and even throw our smartphones in the trash. On the other hand, we realize that it is our duty as parents to face the challenges we face today to protect our children from an ever-changing technological world.
Table of Contents
- 1 Stay informed: Digital Privacy for Parents
- 2 Lead by example
- 3 Explain what personal information is.
- 4 Talk about the danger of strangers online
- 5 Install antivirus programs on all devices
- 6 Block YouTube: Digital Privacy for Parents
- 7 Block any game system: Digital Privacy for Parents
- 8 Give your kids their own bills.
- 9 Set privacy settings on social networks
- 10 Set expectations around sharing
- 11 Talk about Immoral Things: Digital Privacy for Parents
- 12 Check the application permissions and explain why
- 13 Use screen pinning
- 14 Talk about strong passwords
- 15 Talk about data tracking
- 16 Teach your child about free Wi-Fi
- 17 Explain phishing: Digital Privacy for Parents
- 18 Let your children know that they can always come to you
Stay informed: Digital Privacy for Parents
First things first: we must always educate ourselves. We can’t teach our kids about privacy online if we don’t know! Most adults are woefully uninformed about online privacy, so we need to approach this challenge as if we know as much as we should, and that our children, as they grow up, will try every trick in the book to find ways around the trouble. things we know. I remember that scene from Jurassic Park where Robert Muldoon the park ranger describes the naughty behavior of the velociraptor.
“They never attack the same place twice. They were testing the fence for weaknesses, systematically. They remember. “- Jurassic Park
Our children are truly the joy and light of our lives. Oh, but sometimes they can still be little terrors, can’t they?
Here is a list of basic online privacy terms that we should all be familiar with. Even if you think you know what they mean, do a quick search to make sure you’re up to date:
- Identity fraud
- Application permissions
- Location tracking
- Public Wi-Fi
- Social media privacy settings
- Malicious software
Lead by example
As with anything else related to parenting, our actions speak louder than our words. If our children see that we share pictures of them without their permission, for example, why would they ask to share pictures of others? Or ask others not to share photos of themselves?
Take a break to really assess your own online habits. Where can you improve privacy? Maybe it’s time to update your passwords or check your privacy settings on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.
When we find areas for improvement, it is good to turn that into a learning moment with our children. They will see that we take privacy online seriously and will reinforce the lessons we have been teaching them.
Explain what personal information is.
The definition of personal information changes depending on the age of your child. Young children should know as soon as they are online that they should never share their full name, address, or phone number with someone who has contacted them over the Internet. Older children and teens need to have conversations about sexting (see below), share general photos, social security numbers, and cell phone numbers.
Talk about the danger of strangers online
Your kids probably know that they shouldn’t talk to strangers on the street. They should also know that they should not talk to strangers online. Set aside time to explain that sometimes adults may want to be “friends” on social media and to talk about why it is not a good idea to be friends with these people. Discuss the different ways a stranger can communicate (direct messages, following them on Instagram or TikTok, chat rooms, etc. ) and come up with a plan for what your child can do when and if that happens.
Install antivirus programs on all devices
Many of the items on this list focus on talking to our children about the actions they can take, but there are also actions we can take behind the scenes. Install an antivirus program on all your devices, from phones to tablets to computers, and make sure they are up to date! Our kids are just as likely (or more) to click incomplete links as we are, so let’s make sure our devices are protected if they do.
Block YouTube: Digital Privacy for Parents
Kids love YouTube, but not everything on YouTube is right for them. Fortunately, YouTube now offers “Restricted Mode”, which filters out inappropriate content for children. On your desktop or laptop, it’s at the bottom of the screen, while in apps it’s under Settings at the top right.
Block any game system: Digital Privacy for Parents
Game systems are now connected to the internet as well, so if your child is using a Play Station , or even only has access to it, maybe when you’re not at home , make sure you have the proper settings enabled for access. restricted. You can find out what options are available for your particular gaming system by going to the device’s website or doing an online search.
Give your kids their own bills.
If you regularly hand over your phone or tablet to your child (and how many parents don’t these days?), Create an account specifically for them. This allows you to ensure that all privacy settings are correct, without having to deal with them yourself. It also protects your personal things , from text messages to photos to emails .
If your child already has social media accounts, take the time to sit down with them and review their privacy settings. Explain why it’s a good idea to keep access to their accounts restricted and talk a bit about what might happen if they don’t. This is also a good opportunity to review your own privacy settings and give an example of good online privacy practices.
Set expectations around sharing
As parents, we have to set limits all the time, and sharing online is no exception. Sit back and find out what you think is okay and what is not okay for your child to share online. Then sit down with them and have a conversation about what those things are. You may not agree with photos with people’s faces. You might agree that they use their full name, but not if they also share locations. Also, consider what they might be sharing in “private” messages with their friends and explain that no message is really private. And keep an eye out for the “I know” response from your child. That is a great opportunity for them to show how much they really know!
Talk about Immoral Things: Digital Privacy for Parents
Sending explicit images is part of the number of people dating, but it is not a good idea for teenagers, even if they are tempted. When your child starts dating, have conversations about private pictures. Talk about how they can be used against you, both by the recipient and by other people. Make sure your child knows that:
- Nothing on the Internet is really private
- Explicit images can be shared and often are
- There may be legal repercussions for taking and sharing such images. The Internet is like a giant copier that never stops working. Once there is something, it is virtually impossible to remove it from the Internet.
Check the application permissions and explain why
Sit down with your child and check the app permissions on their phone. Show them where to find app permissions and talk about how to distinguish which ones are legitimate and which ones are not. Let them decide with you which applications can stay and which ones should disappear because they are crossing the privacy line.
Use screen pinning
Did you know that you can block an application so that your child cannot get away from it? So for example, if there’s a game that your 7-year-old really loves, you can “pin it to the screen” on Android or turn on “Guided Access” on iOS. Once you have that function activated, they will not be able to exit the game, it will be fixed on your screen.
On Android, go to Settings> Security> Screen pinning. You should also make sure that the “Request PIN before unpinning” option is enabled, otherwise, your child will be able to exit.
On iOS, go to Settings> General> Accessibility> Guided Access.
Talk about strong passwords
As soon as your child has their own accounts (YouTube, social media, email, etc.), they should know the strong passwords. It’s always tempting to reuse passwords between accounts, but it’s also the worst thing you can do if you’re trying to protect your privacy and personal information.
Instead, think of three or four totally foreign words that can be put together. That way, it’s easy to remember, but hard to understand. Password manager apps are another option. They will allow you to generate and store unique and secure passwords.
Talk about data tracking
The collection and sale of personal data to third parties is one of the main ways that many “free” companies and services make money. It is up to us as individuals to decide how much information we are willing to give in exchange for free services. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you can choose what you share. It simply means that you can choose not to use a service.
When it comes to social media, for example, some of us completely refuse to participate, while others enjoy it on a daily basis. The important thing for all of us is to understand how our information is used and then go from there.
When it comes to our children, educating them about data tracking early on helps them make those decisions in a more informed way. When they are old enough to understand, have a conversation about the type of data that is being tracked and collected, and what tools are at their disposal, such as encryption, private browsing, VPN, anti-virus, and anti-phishing technology. and ad blockers.
Teach your child about free Wi-Fi
These days, with tethering and high-speed mobile connections, free or public Wi-Fi is less attractive, but it can still be tempting to connect to save data, especially when it comes to mobile gaming. Make sure your kids understand that free Wi-Fi is extremely vulnerable to attackers and cybercriminals. Teach your child never to send confidential information, such as credit cards or passwords, over a free Wi-Fi network.
Explain phishing: Digital Privacy for Parents
Phishing attacks occur when thieves use social engineering to trick people into providing them with personal information, such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, addresses, etc. Learn what spoofing is, and then teach your child how to be aware of phishing attacks and best practices to protect themselves.
If you told yourself “they can’t fool me with those scams,” it’s a red flag that you may not know as much as you think. The attack phishing these days are incredibly sophisticated, so it is advisable to read on the subject.
Let your children know that they can always come to you
Finally, make it very clear that they can come to you with anything related to privacy online and they won’t get in trouble, even if they broke the rules. You are your child’s first line of defense, and to be safe, you should know that you can always come to me. We hope you will follow this guide of Digital Privacy for Parents.