It’s normal to worry about your child’s safety online. Internet safety begins with us as parents and we should be teaching our children the best safety habits.
What we share online can reach far and wide, and can have severe implications if it ends up in the wrong hands. Sure, we want to share all the major milestones in our child’s life with friends and family members, but does it protect the privacy of your child online?
As technology thrives, opportunities rise where we can interact with the internet and others. Interactions aren’t just limited to cell phones, but devices like watches, home assistants, and toys. These devices collect and store so much personal information about their users, and while these things can make life easier, there could be a cost. Here are a few ways to keep your family safe online.
Know your rights
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) was created to give parents control over what information is collected from their children online. COPPA requires websites to obtain consent from parents before collecting personal information from children younger than the age of 13. Parents have the right to review their child’s information, delete and refuse to permit further collection.
You have the right to be involved when your children are using the internet. Engage with your child when they’re on the internet and teach them good internet habits. Make a rule that internet devices need to be used in family areas of the house and know who your child is taking to. Teach your child to not give out sensitive personal information to those they don’t know online.
It’s important to educate your child on the importance of safeguarding their personal information and encourage them to come to you if an uncomfortable situation occurs. Be a safe space for your child to report inappropriate behavior online. Here are some important precautions to help keep your children safe online:
- Security: Only purchase your smart devices from reputable companies. Always install the software updates, which often address security-related issues.
- Wi-Fi Connection: It’s a safe idea to change the password on your Wi-Fi router. The original password could be easy to crack. Try not to use public Wi-Fi because that will make it easier for ill-intentioned hackers to get your information.
- App Ratings: Be sure to check the reviews and ratings of the apps your child is wanting and make sure they are age appropriate.
- Privacy Settings: Consider making any accounts online private. Don’t allow people you don’t know to follow your accounts and restrict data collection to the tightest settings the service allows.
Best Practices for Connected Devices
Boundaries are necessary for children with social media accounts! Privacy protections on social media are not meant to totally protect children under the age of 13. Complicated passwords on devices and accounts can help you keep your child safe.
Respect your child’s privacy: When you post a photo of your child on social media, you are making a choice on their behalf without their consent. It’s important to build trust with your child by being respectful and mindful of what you share about and of them. This also extends to asking friends and family to limit posting pictures of your child.
Digital footprints: Many companies and business are collecting data on you and your children. This information can be used to compile information that can be used for marketing and advertising.
Tagging locations: It may sound worrisome, but you don’t need to alert people as to where you and your child are. Don’t tag your location until after you leave.
Use hashtags with caution: You may think tags like #nakedbaby are humorous and cute, but tags like this may make it easy for people with bad intentions to find specific images.
Managing your privacy on the internet is challenging and it’s crucial to maintain your child’s safety and privacy online!