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Teaching Kids About the Dangers of the Internet

Monday, November 7, 2016 14:08
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Teaching Kids About The Dangers Of The Internet

YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, memes… just a few of the many reasons we jump onto the internet and kill some time. But somebody has to be a wet blanket every now and then, and just remind kids about what kind of online dangers and threats are out there.

Parents have to teach kids many things over the years, but technological advice is becoming such an important facet of our lives, primarily in the home, but also with regards to smartphones. It seems there are constant news stories of identity theft and password hacks (Yahoo’s massive breach is still very fresh), so you don’t have to look far to find someone who has been affected by some sort of issue regarding online security. Of course, there’s no need to frighten anyone into never touching a computer or smartphone again, but parents who can give little reminders of what to look out for will benefit everyone in the end.

For anyone wishing to brush up their understanding of the subject, this article actually gives some useful tips on preventing online identity theft. With that in mind, here is some advice that every parent should pass on to their children, as this is a time when getting online is easier than ever before.

First off, you may have heard of the infamous Nigerian prince email phishing scam, but some spam mail can be remarkably close to the real thing. Fake emails supposedly from organizations such as eBay, PayPal, or even major banks, ask the recipient to click a link to check their account, as it’s written that some unusual transactions have recently occurred. These take the user to a fake website and once you’ve entered in your details, then the scammers have got what they wanted.

What to tell your kids: Banks and shopping portals may well send you emails, but if you want to access your account, never click any link you find in an email. Always go through the official website by typing the name into your browser or Google.

Sometimes, though it seems hard to imagine, scammers can pose as your family members or friends on social media (either by hacking into the real account or creating a fake one). This is called catfishing. The scammer may contact you asking for money, perhaps say they are in the middle of nowhere and need a flight, but there could be many reasons.

What to tell your kids: A real friend or family could need help – either financially or otherwise – but try to speak to them via phone or at least ask them questions to confirm it’s the real person before instantly sending money. It’s hoped that a child knows their voice of their own father or mother!

Phony online stores are another common way for online criminals to steal your cash. Whether it’s for the latest video game, or band T-shirt, sometimes we find an amazing offer online that simply seems too good to be true… which it likely is. It’s simple enough to create a website that seems legit and sells products that are cheaper than say Amazon or Wal-Mart, yet once you hand over the money, don’t expect that item to ever arrive; the scammer is long gone.

What to tell your kids: Saving money on an item is of course possible, but make sure you’re buying from a website that has a green lock symbol in the address bar and https:// before the website name. This means the site is SSL certified and has secure payment details.

There are of course many creative ways that scammers can try to obtain your personal information for their gain, but it’s beneficial in the long term to teach your kids useful practices such as:

  • Shredding any letters which contain sensitive data (dumpster diving is very common).
  • Having complex passwords for all sites you visit and changing them every three months or so.
  • Perform regular anti-virus scans to avoid malware and Trojan viruses.

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