Holiday wish lists from kids aren’t like they used to be — now, every year it seems their wish lists contain at least one new form of technology, from phones, gaming consoles, digital watches, and more. Although new tech gifts can be exciting for the whole family, they aren’t without risks.
Here are some tech safety tips to keep in mind if your child received any new tech this holiday season:
1. Parental controls: Using parental controls is a great way to ensure your child is only exposed to child-friendly content. Luckily, as children become increasingly more tech-savvy and the technology industry expands to cater to children, parental controls are increasingly more common with different types of technology. Depending on the device, you may even be able to monitor the content your child consumes.
2. Update your home network connection: Keeping your family safe online begins with the strength of your network connection. If your home has a weaker network connection, strangers may be able to access your family’s information even if you don’t post it online. A high-quality network connection with a strong password will help prevent new, unknown devices from connecting to your home’s personal network (Greene, 2023).
3. Create strong passwords for your kids: Creating a strong password is vital for anyone to keep their information safe and secure. Kids may struggle to create strong passwords to protect their accounts and devices from hackers, and may even forget their passwords altogether. Helping your child create strong passwords will ensure their information is on a secure account or device (Child Rescue Coalition, n.d.). Don’t forget to save your child’s passwords for safekeeping!
4. Monitor their online activity: Depending on their age, monitoring your kids’ online activities and technology use can be beneficial to keep your child safe on the internet. If your kid does not yet understand the risks of sharing information online, you should consider monitoring their online activity. As your child grows older and you build trust with them, you can loosen your monitoring.
5. Check your child’s settings: Many devices have default settings that are not always the most secure option in terms of online safety. Some devices will automatically turn your location on or automatically share your information with apps. Before giving your child any new device, check all the default settings. Periodically, you’ll also want to check these settings haven’t switched to default settings during any device updates, or that your child hasn’t accidentally changed these settings.
6. Discuss online safety and boundaries with your kids: Talking to your kids about the risks involved with internet use is the first step to ensuring they engage in safe practices online. Setting and enforcing boundaries with tech and internet usage can also ensure your kids are safe online. These are best set before giving them a device or access to the internet, but it’s never too late to discuss online safety and give your kids safety tips. Some online safety tips include not sharing personal information, interacting with strangers, and using private settings on social media. For children, anonymous accounts may also be the best route.
With a few tech and online safety tips for kids, gifting tech for the holidays can be fun, yet secure for the entire family. Whether your child received any new technology this holiday season or not, you’ll still want to consider their safety online. If you have shared photos or information about your child online, your child already has a digital footprint that could impact them negatively if it falls into the wrong hands.
Use ImageShield to monitor your photos online
Once you put photos of yourself or your child on the internet, it’s difficult to know whether or not predators are taking these photos and using them for malicious purposes. With ImageShield, a photo monitoring service that allows people to track the photos they share online, you can find out whether the photos you’ve shared on Facebook, Instagram, or elsewhere are being misused.
Get your free ImageShield report today on the security of the photos you’ve shared on Facebook and Instagram. Visit our blogs for more information on media literacy and how to protect yourself and your family from image abuse.
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko: https://www.pexels.com/photo/family-looking-at-a-picture-taken-with-polaroid-5814395/