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Category: Internet Filtering & Security

Internet Safety Checklist for Preschoolers

online safety for children

Here’s What Parents Should Teach Their Little Ones… Almost a decade ago, parents and caregivers didn’t have to worry about teaching their preschool aged children’s online safety. It’s the opposite today. Children are now being raised in the digital age.

Today, kids grow up learning how to use technology just like learning how to speak or walk. In fact, if technology isn’t a part of their lives, they would be unusual in society.

Touchscreen technologies have made the internet far more accessible than it used to be. It’s quicker and easier to use on a tablet or an iPad since you don’t need a mouse and a keyboard to navigate.

Some online safety risks for preschoolers

Not all parents believe there is a need to navigate and control how their 4 to 5 years old kids use the internet. Because what can go wrong. They are not using social media and they are barely spelling anything right.

It’s true, preschoolers don’t usually get exposed to as many risks as older children since they are usually using the internet under the supervision of an adult. However, that doesn’t mean parents can excuse themselves from taking certain practical internet safety precautions. Even if your preschooler goes online to play games or watch videos, they are still at the risk of accessing inappropriate content.

Raising Children Au says, there are three kinds of internet safety risk for preschoolers – content, contact and conduct.

  1. Content: This includes the content that children might find upsetting, uncomfortable, or disgusting. Examples are images of animal cruelty, violence, pornography or videos that are meant for older children.
  2. Contact: Children might come in contact with people they don’t know. For instance, they might end up on a communication app like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp and send some personal photo or video to one of your contacts or even a stranger (on Facebook).
  3. Conduct: This risk includes children acting in a way that might hurt others. For instance, they might end up deleting some important file or accidently make in-app purchases.

Children know more than we think!

If you think your preschooler isn’t smart enough to understand what the internet is, read the results of this study where 70, four-year-old children were asked what they know about the internet. 40 percent of the children in the study were able to describe what the internet is. Their understanding of the internet was associated with the experiences of going online and using technology with their family. They defined the internet as something they use to play games; something that mommy uses for work or big sister uses for sending emails and more.

Internet safety checklist to follow

Before children make up their own meaning about the internet, why not tell them what the internet is? Experts say you can start by teaching them that the internet is a net of technology we used to “talk” to each other. Once they understand that then we can move towards teaching them how to protect themselves online.

Here is a checklist that can help parents teach their little ones about internet safety:

  • Explore the internet together: Start by exploring the internet together with your children. They will learn when you are exploring with them. Show them interesting websites, ask them to show you how to play their favorite game, or you can even simply talk about the video they were watching.
  • Be involved: Encourage your children to use devices in the lounge or the kitchen. This will let you keep a close eye on how they are using the internet and what they are watching. Don’t forget to be involved in their enjoyment.
  • Use passwords: You must know when your child is accessing the internet and a smart way to do that is to set passwords on all internet-enabled devices. Make sure these devices are out of your child’s reach. They will have to go through the process of asking permission to access the device and making you put the password so that they can play a game or listen to nursery rhymes. P.S. Don’t share passwords with them.
  • Activate safe search settings: Your toddler will probably use Google and YouTube to do their thing on the internet. Enable safe search settings on both of them. This allows you to apply restrictions on inappropriate search results.
  • Select the right content: Help them choose safe, educational, and fun games or videos. Research games or shows that would be appropriate for your child. You must be confident about the content your child is watching because they will be learning a lot from it.
  • Teach them good and bad: It’s totally okay to talk to your child about good and bad content on the internet. Encourage them to come to you if they see something scary or upsetting. Here is how you can start the conversation: “Some videos on the internet can be scary. Tell mommy/daddy if you see something that scary or makes you unhappy.”

Put yourself in control

Don’t be afraid to use parental controls. There are plenty of child monitoring apps that allow you to set parental controls to manage and control what content your child sees online.

Lots of parents take refuge in vendors such as Xnspy; a monitoring app for children. It’s being used for monitoring and supervising online behavior of preschoolers and older kids alike. In short, it puts you in control of the online activities of your child and ensure their safety. This is how you can use the features of Xnspy for the online protection of your little ones:

  • Manage Web Browsing: Usually, kids directly go to YouTube or the game that’s installed on their tablet. But some are smart enough to browse through Google, too. Xnspy allows you to check the web browsing history of your child’s tablet from a remote location. This feature is also useful if your child is with the nanny and you are just curious about what they are making your child watch.
  • Set boundaries: It is never too early to set boundaries on how much internet or screen time your child gets access to. Xnspy allows you to set rules regarding how much time your child spends online. You can set screen-time limitations by locking their digital devices altogether. Practice this when it’s time to eat so that they develop the habit of eating without a screen in front of them or when it’s bedtime so they could sleep without any distraction.
  • Block Apps: If your children share a tablet or phone, the apps that your older kid uses may not be appropriate for your toddler. Xnspy has the solution for that, too. You can block the apps that you find inappropriate for one or both kids and let them spend the right amount of time on the internet, worry-free!

Monitoring apps as the likes of Xnspy are great for working parents who leave their kids and their tablets with babysitters and don’t know how much time they are spending online or what they are doing online.

Other things to teach

You mustn’t forget to teach your child how to protect themselves one. Tell them to:

  • Seek help whenever they see a pop-up in the middle of a game or video
  • Be near an adult whenever they are using a device
  • Only click on the tabs or apps your parent or babysitter has set up for you
  • Don’t share personal information (like photos or videos) with anyone

Do doubt the internet is a large part of the daily lives of many young ones. They don’t just watch their favorite YouTube clips and play games online but also talk to long-distance relatives over video conferencing. It makes sense to set boundaries for them and teach the how to stay safe online from a young age.

Here’s What Parents Should Teach Their Little Ones… Almost a decade ago, parents and caregivers didn’t have to worry about teaching their preschool aged children’s online safety. It’s the opposite today. Children are now being raised in the digital age.

Today, kids grow up learning how to use technology just like learning how to speak or walk. In fact, if technology isn’t a part of their lives, they would be unusual in society.

Touchscreen technologies have made the internet far more accessible than it used to be. It’s quicker and easier to use on a tablet or an iPad since you don’t need a mouse and a keyboard to navigate.

Some online safety risks for preschoolers

Not all parents believe there is a need to navigate and control how their 4 to 5 years old kids use the internet. Because what can go wrong. They are not using social media and they are barely spelling anything right.

It’s true, preschoolers don’t usually get exposed to as many risks as older children since they are usually using the internet under the supervision of an adult. However, that doesn’t mean parents can excuse themselves from taking certain practical internet safety precautions. Even if your preschooler goes online to play games or watch videos, they are still at the risk of accessing inappropriate content.

Raising Children Au says, there are three kinds of internet safety risk for preschoolers – content, contact and conduct.

  1. Content: This includes the content that children might find upsetting, uncomfortable, or disgusting. Examples are images of animal cruelty, violence, pornography or videos that are meant for older children.
  2. Contact: Children might come in contact with people they don’t know. For instance, they might end up on a communication app like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp and send some personal photo or video to one of your contacts or even a stranger (on Facebook).
  3. Conduct: This risk includes children acting in a way that might hurt others. For instance, they might end up deleting some important file or accidently make in-app purchases.

Children know more than we think!

If you think your preschooler isn’t smart enough to understand what the internet is, read the results of this study where 70, four-year-old children were asked what they know about the internet. 40 percent of the children in the study were able to describe what the internet is. Their understanding of the internet was associated with the experiences of going online and using technology with their family. They defined the internet as something they use to play games; something that mommy uses for work or big sister uses for sending emails and more.

Internet safety checklist to follow

Before children make up their own meaning about the internet, why not tell them what the internet is? Experts say you can start by teaching them that the internet is a net of technology we used to “talk” to each other. Once they understand that then we can move towards teaching them how to protect themselves online.

Here is a checklist that can help parents teach their little ones about internet safety:

  • Explore the internet together: Start by exploring the internet together with your children. They will learn when you are exploring with them. Show them interesting websites, ask them to show you how to play their favorite game, or you can even simply talk about the video they were watching.
  • Be involved: Encourage your children to use devices in the lounge or the kitchen. This will let you keep a close eye on how they are using the internet and what they are watching. Don’t forget to be involved in their enjoyment.
  • Use passwords: You must know when your child is accessing the internet and a smart way to do that is to set passwords on all internet-enabled devices. Make sure these devices are out of your child’s reach. They will have to go through the process of asking permission to access the device and making you put the password so that they can play a game or listen to nursery rhymes. P.S. Don’t share passwords with them.
  • Activate safe search settings: Your toddler will probably use Google and YouTube to do their thing on the internet. Enable safe search settings on both of them. This allows you to apply restrictions on inappropriate search results.
  • Select the right content: Help them choose safe, educational, and fun games or videos. Research games or shows that would be appropriate for your child. You must be confident about the content your child is watching because they will be learning a lot from it.
  • Teach them good and bad: It’s totally okay to talk to your child about good and bad content on the internet. Encourage them to come to you if they see something scary or upsetting. Here is how you can start the conversation: “Some videos on the internet can be scary. Tell mommy/daddy if you see something that scary or makes you unhappy.”

Put yourself in control

Don’t be afraid to use parental controls. There are plenty of child monitoring apps that allow you to set parental controls to manage and control what content your child sees online.

Lots of parents take refuge in vendors such as Xnspy; a monitoring app for children. It’s being used for monitoring and supervising online behavior of preschoolers and older kids alike. In short, it puts you in control of the online activities of your child and ensure their safety. This is how you can use the features of Xnspy for the online protection of your little ones:

  • Manage Web Browsing: Usually, kids directly go to YouTube or the game that’s installed on their tablet. But some are smart enough to browse through Google, too. Xnspy allows you to check the web browsing history of your child’s tablet from a remote location. This feature is also useful if your child is with the nanny and you are just curious about what they are making your child watch.
  • Set boundaries: It is never too early to set boundaries on how much internet or screen time your child gets access to. Xnspy allows you to set rules regarding how much time your child spends online. You can set screen-time limitations by locking their digital devices altogether. Practice this when it’s time to eat so that they develop the habit of eating without a screen in front of them or when it’s bedtime so they could sleep without any distraction.
  • Block Apps: If your children share a tablet or phone, the apps that your older kid uses may not be appropriate for your toddler. Xnspy has the solution for that, too. You can block the apps that you find inappropriate for one or both kids and let them spend the right amount of time on the internet, worry-free!

Monitoring apps as the likes of Xnspy are great for working parents who leave their kids and their tablets with babysitters and don’t know how much time they are spending online or what they are doing online.

Other things to teach

You mustn’t forget to teach your child how to protect themselves one. Tell them to:

  • Seek help whenever they see a pop-up in the middle of a game or video
  • Be near an adult whenever they are using a device
  • Only click on the tabs or apps your parent or babysitter has set up for you
  • Don’t share personal information (like photos or videos) with anyone

Do doubt the internet is a large part of the daily lives of many young ones. They don’t just watch their favorite YouTube clips and play games online but also talk to long-distance relatives over video conferencing. It makes sense to set boundaries for them and teach the how to stay safe online from a young age.

How to Properly Educate Your Kids on the Possible Dangers Online

Kids Discuss Computer Safety with Kids

The conversation around keeping your children safe has come a long way from not talking to strangers and being home before dark. Internet safety for kids has become one of the most challenging parental discussions to have. It’s turning out to be a required conversation at a very young age.

Children are interacting with the internet at higher rates than any other age group. The world wide web presents both a network of engaging content and opportunities for copious harmful interactions. It’s vital to have a comprehensive discussion about all the inherent dangers online.

Internet safety for kids is not as simple as limiting what websites they can access. The myriad forms of communication alone are almost impossible to keep track of in real time. Rather than attempting to chase down all the potential dangers, it is far more efficient to educate children about digital responsibility and how to interact with the vast world of the internet.

Coaching children on the classic dangers online like communicating with strangers, accessing inappropriate content, and opening files or documents they are not sure about is vital. Children can often see the internet as an “imaginary realm,” where online friends only exist in the online world. Parents must make it plain to children that anything that happens online can lead to physical dangers.

While personal safety is paramount, it’s also vital to educate children on the impact their online presence can have. There is a plethora of examples of kids bullying or cyberstalking each other to the point of physical harm via online platforms. It’s just as essential to show the importance of being thoughtful of others online as it is to warn of other dangers.

Steps to Increase the Online Security Awareness

Children often confuse online security with unnecessary restrictions. It’s crucial to be honest with them about why security is so important. It can be difficult for the younger generation to understand such issues as stolen identities and hacking banking information. However, if you can teach them through certain behaviors and make them aware of potential danger zones, you will instill an appropriate view of online security.

Set Up Ground Rules

Limiting screen time or time on the internet has become a trendy way to handle children’s online behaviors. However, it’s getting increasingly difficult to achieve this lofty goal. School work, communication with friends, and gameplay have all been transported to the online world. Thus, it could be perceived as extremely limiting to simply say “only two hours of internet per day.”

However, some standard ground rules are reasonable and beneficial. For example, using the internet in a shared space like the dining or living room. It can help to limit inappropriate online activities. If you encourage children to share any messages or information they find offensive with you, it will help to discover bullying or cyberstalking before it becomes too impactful.

The key to the ground rules is being open and honest about why said rules exist. Clearly explaining what is good and bad on the internet will go a lot further than dictating what is off limits.

Utilize Built-In Security Settings and Features

Most operating systems take young family members into account with certain family-friendly features. Fortunately, these features go a lot further now than restricting certain websites or content.

For example, parents can allot funds to the kid’s online account to use them in the app store. This can remove the temptation for children to spend unbeknownst to parents. Additionally, parents can limit the time spent online with timers, restrict internet content or certain apps, and block the adjustment of specific system settings.

Be Mindful About Online Gaming

Online gaming has become more social than ever. Almost every game has some form of chat component, with many utilizing actual voice chat. Encouraging children to be wary of what information they divulge online is essential. While games are virtual and can always be reset, real information can put your family in danger.

Consider utilizing a VPN while gaming. A VPN can hide the IP address from other users. An IP address could be used to locate your home, even if the child doesn’t give away your exact location.

Be the Example

Internet safety for kids has become one of the most challenging aspects of parenting in modern times. Being honest about the dangers of online interactions is crucial. This, along with supplying legitimate reasons for online restrictions can ease the tension caused by discussions about the internet. Model good internet behaviors for children by adhering to the same ground rules as you ask them to follow.

The conversation around keeping your children safe has come a long way from not talking to strangers and being home before dark. Internet safety for kids has become one of the most challenging parental discussions to have. It’s turning out to be a required conversation at a very young age.

Children are interacting with the internet at higher rates than any other age group. The world wide web presents both a network of engaging content and opportunities for copious harmful interactions. It’s vital to have a comprehensive discussion about all the inherent dangers online.

Internet safety for kids is not as simple as limiting what websites they can access. The myriad forms of communication alone are almost impossible to keep track of in real time. Rather than attempting to chase down all the potential dangers, it is far more efficient to educate children about digital responsibility and how to interact with the vast world of the internet.

Coaching children on the classic dangers online like communicating with strangers, accessing inappropriate content, and opening files or documents they are not sure about is vital. Children can often see the internet as an “imaginary realm,” where online friends only exist in the online world. Parents must make it plain to children that anything that happens online can lead to physical dangers.

While personal safety is paramount, it’s also vital to educate children on the impact their online presence can have. There is a plethora of examples of kids bullying or cyberstalking each other to the point of physical harm via online platforms. It’s just as essential to show the importance of being thoughtful of others online as it is to warn of other dangers.

Steps to Increase the Online Security Awareness

Children often confuse online security with unnecessary restrictions. It’s crucial to be honest with them about why security is so important. It can be difficult for the younger generation to understand such issues as stolen identities and hacking banking information. However, if you can teach them through certain behaviors and make them aware of potential danger zones, you will instill an appropriate view of online security.

Set Up Ground Rules

Limiting screen time or time on the internet has become a trendy way to handle children’s online behaviors. However, it’s getting increasingly difficult to achieve this lofty goal. School work, communication with friends, and gameplay have all been transported to the online world. Thus, it could be perceived as extremely limiting to simply say “only two hours of internet per day.”

However, some standard ground rules are reasonable and beneficial. For example, using the internet in a shared space like the dining or living room. It can help to limit inappropriate online activities. If you encourage children to share any messages or information they find offensive with you, it will help to discover bullying or cyberstalking before it becomes too impactful.

The key to the ground rules is being open and honest about why said rules exist. Clearly explaining what is good and bad on the internet will go a lot further than dictating what is off limits.

Utilize Built-In Security Settings and Features

Most operating systems take young family members into account with certain family-friendly features. Fortunately, these features go a lot further now than restricting certain websites or content.

For example, parents can allot funds to the kid’s online account to use them in the app store. This can remove the temptation for children to spend unbeknownst to parents. Additionally, parents can limit the time spent online with timers, restrict internet content or certain apps, and block the adjustment of specific system settings.

Be Mindful About Online Gaming

Online gaming has become more social than ever. Almost every game has some form of chat component, with many utilizing actual voice chat. Encouraging children to be wary of what information they divulge online is essential. While games are virtual and can always be reset, real information can put your family in danger.

Consider utilizing a VPN while gaming. A VPN can hide the IP address from other users. An IP address could be used to locate your home, even if the child doesn’t give away your exact location.

Be the Example

Internet safety for kids has become one of the most challenging aspects of parenting in modern times. Being honest about the dangers of online interactions is crucial. This, along with supplying legitimate reasons for online restrictions can ease the tension caused by discussions about the internet. Model good internet behaviors for children by adhering to the same ground rules as you ask them to follow.

Teen’s Online Privacy and Cyber Security

teenagers onlines privacys and cyber security

Cyber security and online privacy are perhaps the most important considerations for any generation alive today, but especially for teenagers. Maintaining privacy when it comes to their personal identifying information, location and even family member identities will help to thwart efforts at identity theft and even traffickers trying to track down at-risk teenagers.

Statistics

According to Stay Safe Online, 1/3 of a child’s life is spent online, 77% of children go to online school and 94% of teens do online research. Furthermore, 91% of 18-24 year-olds say they network online with people they don’t really know. 46% of the same age group uses file-sharing apps that offer access to their personal PCs and files. The most common password used in America is “password,” so further education on the importance of maintaining cybersecurity should be the number one goal of parents and teachers.

Personal safety isn’t the only thing at risk, either. Your teen may suffer from or witness cyberbullying through online messaging and social media, too. BullyingStatistics says that almost half of young people have received threatening messages online. 42% of youths experience bullying on Instagram, 37% on Facebook and 31% on Snapchat. In addition, the Cyberbullying Research Center says that 33.8% of students ages 12 to 17 have been victims of cyberbullying at some point in their lifetime. This can result in widespread rumors as well as mental health issues in the victims.

It Starts At Home

Stressing the importance of maintaining anonymity online and keeping accounts and files secured should start with parental guidance at home. Establishing trust between you and your teenager is the most vital step in making sure they’re using the Internet appropriately and protecting themselves. As a parent, you must keep tabs on the apps your teen is using and who they’re interacting with online.

This becomes more difficult the older your teen gets with the more privileges they earn. But gradually increasing their exposure to online games or social media can help you ensure they’re listening to your guidance as well as prepare them for adulthood, when you won’t be there to advise them.

If you and your teen have a trusting relationship, it should be rather easy for you to communicate about what’s happening with their accounts and activity online. As your teen matures, this may decrease, but they should be armed with the knowledge necessary to maintain their cybersecurity.

Also make sure you discuss with them the importance of avoiding cyberbullying and how it can affect others, and encourage them to bring any evidence of it to your attention. Reporting the bullying messages or comments and protecting your teen from any attacks can help avoid any future mental health effects it may have.

Talking Points

Ask them frequently about who they’re talking to in social apps, and explain why they shouldn’t accept requests or messages from people they don’t know in real life. Also encourage them to immediately notify you if anything seems out of the ordinary with their accounts, and to always change passwords at least every 90 days.

If your teen is new to using the Internet, frequently check their accounts and activity to keep tabs on the information they’re sharing and who they’re interacting with. Also keep in mind that many teens will have multiple social media accounts to try to confuse their parents.

The most important thing when trying to maintain transparency is explaining the reasons why you’re concerned about their cyber security. Traffickers will find victims on social media; pedophiles will pretend to be someone they’re not and strike up a relationship with teens online; gaming and other apps can share your teen’s location with strangers; pornographers may try to gain your teen’s trust so they can eventually request graphic images or video from them to disperse online; and hackers can gain access to accounts and cause everything from financial hardship to ruined reputations.

Cyber security has never before been such an important subject to discuss with your teenagers. Past generations had less access and sometimes no access, but today it’s an everyday occurrence for school work and extra-curricular activity. Ensuring they understand the importance of maintaining their privacy and not interacting with or sharing their location and other information with people they don’t know in real life is vitally important, too. As a parent, the best thing you can do is build a strong foundation of trust with your teen and gauge their maturity level and readiness for more freedom when working or playing online before giving them permission to utilize games and social media apps.

Cyber security and online privacy are perhaps the most important considerations for any generation alive today, but especially for teenagers. Maintaining privacy when it comes to their personal identifying information, location and even family member identities will help to thwart efforts at identity theft and even traffickers trying to track down at-risk teenagers.

Statistics

According to Stay Safe Online, 1/3 of a child’s life is spent online, 77% of children go to online school and 94% of teens do online research. Furthermore, 91% of 18-24 year-olds say they network online with people they don’t really know. 46% of the same age group uses file-sharing apps that offer access to their personal PCs and files. The most common password used in America is “password,” so further education on the importance of maintaining cybersecurity should be the number one goal of parents and teachers.

Personal safety isn’t the only thing at risk, either. Your teen may suffer from or witness cyberbullying through online messaging and social media, too. BullyingStatistics says that almost half of young people have received threatening messages online. 42% of youths experience bullying on Instagram, 37% on Facebook and 31% on Snapchat. In addition, the Cyberbullying Research Center says that 33.8% of students ages 12 to 17 have been victims of cyberbullying at some point in their lifetime. This can result in widespread rumors as well as mental health issues in the victims.

It Starts At Home

Stressing the importance of maintaining anonymity online and keeping accounts and files secured should start with parental guidance at home. Establishing trust between you and your teenager is the most vital step in making sure they’re using the Internet appropriately and protecting themselves. As a parent, you must keep tabs on the apps your teen is using and who they’re interacting with online.

This becomes more difficult the older your teen gets with the more privileges they earn. But gradually increasing their exposure to online games or social media can help you ensure they’re listening to your guidance as well as prepare them for adulthood, when you won’t be there to advise them.

If you and your teen have a trusting relationship, it should be rather easy for you to communicate about what’s happening with their accounts and activity online. As your teen matures, this may decrease, but they should be armed with the knowledge necessary to maintain their cybersecurity.

Also make sure you discuss with them the importance of avoiding cyberbullying and how it can affect others, and encourage them to bring any evidence of it to your attention. Reporting the bullying messages or comments and protecting your teen from any attacks can help avoid any future mental health effects it may have.

Talking Points

Ask them frequently about who they’re talking to in social apps, and explain why they shouldn’t accept requests or messages from people they don’t know in real life. Also encourage them to immediately notify you if anything seems out of the ordinary with their accounts, and to always change passwords at least every 90 days.

If your teen is new to using the Internet, frequently check their accounts and activity to keep tabs on the information they’re sharing and who they’re interacting with. Also keep in mind that many teens will have multiple social media accounts to try to confuse their parents.

The most important thing when trying to maintain transparency is explaining the reasons why you’re concerned about their cyber security. Traffickers will find victims on social media; pedophiles will pretend to be someone they’re not and strike up a relationship with teens online; gaming and other apps can share your teen’s location with strangers; pornographers may try to gain your teen’s trust so they can eventually request graphic images or video from them to disperse online; and hackers can gain access to accounts and cause everything from financial hardship to ruined reputations.

Cyber security has never before been such an important subject to discuss with your teenagers. Past generations had less access and sometimes no access, but today it’s an everyday occurrence for school work and extra-curricular activity. Ensuring they understand the importance of maintaining their privacy and not interacting with or sharing their location and other information with people they don’t know in real life is vitally important, too. As a parent, the best thing you can do is build a strong foundation of trust with your teen and gauge their maturity level and readiness for more freedom when working or playing online before giving them permission to utilize games and social media apps.

How to Protect Kids and Teens from Identity Theft

As a parent there are so many things you need to worry about to keep your kids safe, now there is another. Did you know that identity theft of kids and teens is on the rise? Just in 2016 alone, the FTC received 15,000 complaints of identity theft of a minor and in 2017 more than 1 million kids have their identities stolen.

Roughly 4% of all the cases reported in a year affect kids and teens. Unfortunately it quite easy for someone to steal a kid’s identity. Generally, it begins when a criminal takes your child’s social security number.

Why Do Thieves Use Children’s Identities

The top reason thieves target children with identity theft is that they have perfect credit. Kids don’t have mortgages or default loans or any credit card debt. It’s like grabbing a clean slate and using it all up before anyone finds out. Children are also easy targets because it may be years before the fraud is detected and they start to use their own identity.

How Thieves Use Children’s Identities

Criminals use kids’ identities for loans, renting property, applying for government benefits, and opening bank and credit card accounts. The most common method is when the thief steals your child’s social security number and then uses it with a different birth date. This process is known as creating a “synthetic identity.” Most the victim knows the identity thief. 22% of the time the identity theft is perpetrated by a parent, stepparent, sibling or other relatives.

The worst part is that criminals can get away with it for years as it usually goes unnoticed until the child is an adult and applies for credit. Identity theft hurts college kids chances of getting into school, applying for internships and obtaining their own real credit. Once their identity has been used and sullied, it is harder to clean up.

Protection and Prevention Tips

Like with many things, it is easier to prevent the problem than to fix it after it has happened.

Thankfully the government is taking notice of this issue and has started penning laws protecting underage people from identity theft. In the meantime, as a parent, there is a lot you can do to protect your child and prevent identity theft.

 

Tip 1 – Protect Your Child’s Social Security Number

Never give out your child’s social security number to anyone who doesn’t need it. Although places like schools, extracurricular activities, and even medical offices may ask for it, they don’t need it. They are not offering your child credit and limiting access to your child’s SSN is the best defense against this type of crime.

 

Tip 2 – Review the Safety of Your Child’s School Information

Pay attention to privacy policies and find out how your child’s school safeguards the personal information they store on students. Consult with their security team and even the IT department to ensure your kid’s data is safe.

 

Tip 3 – Secure Your Kid’s and Teen’s Mobile Devices

Personal information can be stolen easily from mobile devices that are not adequately secured. Teach your kids how to create complex, safe passwords and always use them. Don’t forget to teach your kids about these types of scams, along with phishing emails and never to click on links they receive.

 

Tip 4 – Be Careful and Monitor Social Media

Teach your child how to use the Internet and be safe online. Be careful what you and your kids post on social media. Monitor their posts and tweets to make sure they are not oversharing or communicating with a stranger who could be an identity thief trying to steal their information.

 

Tip 5 – Get a Copy of Your Child’s Credit Report

You can quickly get a copy of your child’s credit report at any time to see if there is any activity. Bank loans, credit cards and other things that show up will indicate someone is using their social security number. You will need to take swift action to repair the damage.

How to Fix It, if it Happens To You

If you find out your child’s identity has been stolen take the steps below as quickly as possible to resolve it before they need to use their credit.

  1. Contact all the major credit reporting agencies and ask them to remove all the credit information, inquiries, accounts and everything associated with that social security number.
  2. Next, contact every business that is associated with those accounts like banks, credit cards and other places the credit was used.
  3. Ask each creditor to place a “fraud alert” on the account.
  4. Contact the FTC and file a fraud report. You can also call them at 877-438-4338.
  5. If any of the accounts were used for medical expenses or involve taxes, you would also need to contact the police.

As a parent there are so many things you need to worry about to keep your kids safe, now there is another. Did you know that identity theft of kids and teens is on the rise? Just in 2016 alone, the FTC received 15,000 complaints of identity theft of a minor and in 2017 more than 1 million kids have their identities stolen.

Roughly 4% of all the cases reported in a year affect kids and teens. Unfortunately it quite easy for someone to steal a kid’s identity. Generally, it begins when a criminal takes your child’s social security number.

Why Do Thieves Use Children’s Identities

The top reason thieves target children with identity theft is that they have perfect credit. Kids don’t have mortgages or default loans or any credit card debt. It’s like grabbing a clean slate and using it all up before anyone finds out. Children are also easy targets because it may be years before the fraud is detected and they start to use their own identity.

How Thieves Use Children’s Identities

Criminals use kids’ identities for loans, renting property, applying for government benefits, and opening bank and credit card accounts. The most common method is when the thief steals your child’s social security number and then uses it with a different birth date. This process is known as creating a “synthetic identity.” Most the victim knows the identity thief. 22% of the time the identity theft is perpetrated by a parent, stepparent, sibling or other relatives.

The worst part is that criminals can get away with it for years as it usually goes unnoticed until the child is an adult and applies for credit. Identity theft hurts college kids chances of getting into school, applying for internships and obtaining their own real credit. Once their identity has been used and sullied, it is harder to clean up.

Protection and Prevention Tips

Like with many things, it is easier to prevent the problem than to fix it after it has happened.

Thankfully the government is taking notice of this issue and has started penning laws protecting underage people from identity theft. In the meantime, as a parent, there is a lot you can do to protect your child and prevent identity theft.

 

Tip 1 – Protect Your Child’s Social Security Number

Never give out your child’s social security number to anyone who doesn’t need it. Although places like schools, extracurricular activities, and even medical offices may ask for it, they don’t need it. They are not offering your child credit and limiting access to your child’s SSN is the best defense against this type of crime.

 

Tip 2 – Review the Safety of Your Child’s School Information

Pay attention to privacy policies and find out how your child’s school safeguards the personal information they store on students. Consult with their security team and even the IT department to ensure your kid’s data is safe.

 

Tip 3 – Secure Your Kid’s and Teen’s Mobile Devices

Personal information can be stolen easily from mobile devices that are not adequately secured. Teach your kids how to create complex, safe passwords and always use them. Don’t forget to teach your kids about these types of scams, along with phishing emails and never to click on links they receive.

 

Tip 4 – Be Careful and Monitor Social Media

Teach your child how to use the Internet and be safe online. Be careful what you and your kids post on social media. Monitor their posts and tweets to make sure they are not oversharing or communicating with a stranger who could be an identity thief trying to steal their information.

 

Tip 5 – Get a Copy of Your Child’s Credit Report

You can quickly get a copy of your child’s credit report at any time to see if there is any activity. Bank loans, credit cards and other things that show up will indicate someone is using their social security number. You will need to take swift action to repair the damage.

How to Fix It, if it Happens To You

If you find out your child’s identity has been stolen take the steps below as quickly as possible to resolve it before they need to use their credit.

  1. Contact all the major credit reporting agencies and ask them to remove all the credit information, inquiries, accounts and everything associated with that social security number.
  2. Next, contact every business that is associated with those accounts like banks, credit cards and other places the credit was used.
  3. Ask each creditor to place a “fraud alert” on the account.
  4. Contact the FTC and file a fraud report. You can also call them at 877-438-4338.
  5. If any of the accounts were used for medical expenses or involve taxes, you would also need to contact the police.