As part of “National Cyber Security Month,” Better Business Bureau serving San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties would like parents and caregivers to be aware of security precautions they can take to protect their kids against cyber crime.
On average, teenagers spend just over 5 hours a day online. Over 90% of them are on social networking sites, and 3 in 4 share photos and videos of themselves, friends and family members. Fraud, identity theft, hacking, and cyber bullying are just a few of the cyber crimes that can affect children.
In hopes of promoting safe and secure online practices on the Web, Identity Theft Resource Center, a local nonprofit, has provided some cyber crime prevention tips for parents and caregivers:
1) Talk with kids about Internet safety – Teens have admitted to hiding online behavior from parents and it is important for them to know that they will not be penalized if something bad happens.
2) Remind kids that they should never respond to people they don’t know – This will minimize chances of an exchange with scammers and other potential criminals.
3) Teach what to share and not share on social media – Teach kids to consider not posting their real birthdate on their social media profiles. Turn off location-based settings to prevent them from sharing their location. Remind them photos and videos shared with friends can become public.
4) Supervise downloads – Movies, music, and games online can carry malware that can infect your computer or give hackers access to your personal information. Ensure that kids need your supervision before downloading and do not share passwords.
5) Know which devices have Internet access – By being aware that tablets, smartphones, gaming systems, and computers have online access, you can enable parental controls and supervise kids’ activity.
6) Use password protection – Create strong passwords that are unique, containing lower- and upper-case letters, numbers, and special characters. They should only be used on one device and changed, at least, every 6 months.
Further cyber security resources can be found on our website at bbb.org or the Identity Theft Resource Center at idtheftcenter.org. I also encourage consumers to call our 24-Hour Consumer Helpline at 858-496-2131 for free information and advice.