There are potential negative consequences of using technology that all caregivers should be aware of. While the latest app that your child and his classmates are obsessed with may appear age appropriate and harmless, there are ways for predators to infiltrate the data and exploit it. It's a good reminder that if you allow technology like computers, iPads, iPhones, or even gaming devices in your home, it's important to monitor accounts on a regular basis to make sure no inappropriate content is being sent to them. There are other easy steps you can take to safeguard your child(ren), as well.
One common mistake parents make is allowing their children to create a username that incorporates their name, information about their age and location or interests. These small pieces of data are enough for a predator to start piecing together a profile of a child and give predators tools that can be used to find more information to manipulate kids. By following these simple guidelines, parents can help make sure online predators are not targeting their children.
Stop Kids from Duplicating Usernames: Just like recycling a password is a bad idea kids should not use the same username to log into different online accounts. Having one common username across accounts just makes it easier for criminals to search for and find details about a child’s life.
Keep Personal Details Private: If an app or website requires kids to fill out a profile do not let them enter personally identifying details like their full name, birthdate, age or address. If they cannot use a site without supplying these details either supply a false answer to the questions or do not allow your child to use that site/app.
Email Addresses and Usernames Do Not Mix: Linking a username with an email address can simplify a predator’s search for personal information. Using trial and error a criminal can add common email providers to a username, run a search and pull up social media accounts and any other sites where an email address was used to create a profile.
Create Unique Email Addresses for Each App/Site: Some email providers including Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo allow users to alter their email address into infinite number of disposable addresses. For example if your child’s email address is email@example.com and he/she wants to sign up for a new gaming site you can alter his/her email address just for that site by adding an identifier to it such as shauntips+ABCGamingFun@gmail.com. This keeps your child’s actual email address private and can help stop criminals from being able to track online history simply by searching for an email address.
Stay Vigilant: Regularly checking what apps your child is using and what websites are being visited is the first line of defense. If anything looks suspicious or if you are unsure what something is, ask your child. If he/she cannot explain to your satisfaction what the app is then delete it and block it.
For more information about protecting your security and privacy online, visit: www.sndr.com. SNDR™ is a new app that combines all the ways you already communicate into a single platform. You can text, email, share files and use social media all from one app. Every message is encrypted and completely secure.