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Category: Online Safety for Kids

Kids Tech: Tips for Parents in the Digital Age

Parents and Kids Internet Safety

The world has now globalized thanks to technology. Such is its significance and influences on our daily lives that even our kids are now part of the growth. They are digital-savvy citizens who were exposed to technology at a young age and now use it on a regular basis.

However, since it can sting as much as it can benefit them, it is vital that we assist our children in learning healthy ways of digital use. How can we effectively do this? Here are several essential tips for parents in the digital age.

Create a Media Use Plan for the Family:

While it is irrefutable that media is one way to enhance your everyday life, it can displace numerous essential activities if utilized improperly. This can include much-needed family time as well time spend with friends away from screens. The need to have a proper media-use family plan has never been more important.

Restrict Reasonably and Encourage Playtime:

Similar to other activities in your home, it is essential that you set reasonable limits for media use. In addition to setting limits, encourage regular playtime and make it an everyday priority. This is especially important for your younger kids as it stimulates creativity.

Participate:

Don’t let screen time be alone time. Participate and play with your kids during screen time as it promotes bonding, social interaction, as well as active learning.

You can either watch a movie or even play some video games together. Not only will it help you bond; it also provides you with the perfect opportunity to not only understand them but also share your perspectives and offer guidance. This is also the perfect time to teach them about online safety and security.

Face-To-Face Communication Is Irreplaceable:

Two-way communication is the best way for young kids to learn. Conversing back and forth has been shown to develop language skills more than even “passive listening.”

Face-to-face active listening communication is an integral part of language development. Conversations can either be direct or, if need be, through video chat in cases where the parent or guardian is not around.

Lead by Example:

Instill good and decent online manners. Children tend to mimic their parents. As their role model, you should take necessary precautions like limiting the time period you spend on your media. This will help you interact and bond more with your kids by being there as opposed to getting lost in your screen.

Set up Tech-Free Zones:

Important activities such as family/social gatherings, mealtimes or even particular places in the house such as bedrooms should be completely screen-free. You can start by switching off the TV when having face-to-face time with your kids to avoid distractions for one or restrict them from taking their gadgets to their rooms during bedtime.

Such changes will not only promote healthier eating habits, but they also add to the family time and help the kids sleep better.

Children Will Always Be Children

Undoubtedly, kids are bound to mess up when using media. Carefully handle mistakes with understanding and turn every moment of error into a learning experience.

However, some actions such as cyberbullying may need some stern measures and action. It is crucial that you take note of your kid’s behavior, and where necessary seek professional assistance such as counseling.

While technology is now a fundamental component in our everyday lives, it should always be appropriately and moderately used. It is possible to ensure it does not disrupt fundamental essential activities. Despite its numerous benefits towards the growth of our kids, it should never take the place of real-time experiences with our families. The latter is vital in promoting the healthy development and proper learning of our kids.

Prioritize face-to-face interaction and ensure it is not overshadowed by a bunch of screens and media streams.

The world has now globalized thanks to technology. Such is its significance and influences on our daily lives that even our kids are now part of the growth. They are digital-savvy citizens who were exposed to technology at a young age and now use it on a regular basis.

However, since it can sting as much as it can benefit them, it is vital that we assist our children in learning healthy ways of digital use. How can we effectively do this? Here are several essential tips for parents in the digital age.

Create a Media Use Plan for the Family:

While it is irrefutable that media is one way to enhance your everyday life, it can displace numerous essential activities if utilized improperly. This can include much-needed family time as well time spend with friends away from screens. The need to have a proper media-use family plan has never been more important.

Restrict Reasonably and Encourage Playtime:

Similar to other activities in your home, it is essential that you set reasonable limits for media use. In addition to setting limits, encourage regular playtime and make it an everyday priority. This is especially important for your younger kids as it stimulates creativity.

Participate:

Don’t let screen time be alone time. Participate and play with your kids during screen time as it promotes bonding, social interaction, as well as active learning.

You can either watch a movie or even play some video games together. Not only will it help you bond; it also provides you with the perfect opportunity to not only understand them but also share your perspectives and offer guidance. This is also the perfect time to teach them about online safety and security.

Face-To-Face Communication Is Irreplaceable:

Two-way communication is the best way for young kids to learn. Conversing back and forth has been shown to develop language skills more than even “passive listening.”

Face-to-face active listening communication is an integral part of language development. Conversations can either be direct or, if need be, through video chat in cases where the parent or guardian is not around.

Lead by Example:

Instill good and decent online manners. Children tend to mimic their parents. As their role model, you should take necessary precautions like limiting the time period you spend on your media. This will help you interact and bond more with your kids by being there as opposed to getting lost in your screen.

Set up Tech-Free Zones:

Important activities such as family/social gatherings, mealtimes or even particular places in the house such as bedrooms should be completely screen-free. You can start by switching off the TV when having face-to-face time with your kids to avoid distractions for one or restrict them from taking their gadgets to their rooms during bedtime.

Such changes will not only promote healthier eating habits, but they also add to the family time and help the kids sleep better.

Children Will Always Be Children

Undoubtedly, kids are bound to mess up when using media. Carefully handle mistakes with understanding and turn every moment of error into a learning experience.

However, some actions such as cyberbullying may need some stern measures and action. It is crucial that you take note of your kid’s behavior, and where necessary seek professional assistance such as counseling.

While technology is now a fundamental component in our everyday lives, it should always be appropriately and moderately used. It is possible to ensure it does not disrupt fundamental essential activities. Despite its numerous benefits towards the growth of our kids, it should never take the place of real-time experiences with our families. The latter is vital in promoting the healthy development and proper learning of our kids.

Prioritize face-to-face interaction and ensure it is not overshadowed by a bunch of screens and media streams.

Is Your Child Ready for a Cell Phone?

Is Your Child Ready for a Cell Phone?

Parents often wonder what the right age is for their child to have a cell phone, but the truth is, every child is different. It depends on the child’s maturity, ability to be responsible, and the family’s communication needs.

As you consider what works best for your family, use the following tips to help set ground rules and parental controls, and to decipher the delicate balance between monitoring your child’s cell phone use and respecting their privacy.

How to set ground rules

Like driving a car for the first time, most kids are excited to get their first cell phone. And when learning to drive, kids must go through driver’s education and have limitations placed on them once they can drive on their own.

The same rings true for cell phones. As adults, we know the distractions our phones can pose. Before you give your child a phone, discuss cell phone safety and the ground rules you expect them to follow. Start small and allow more freedom with earned responsibility.

Cell phone rules and expectations can include:

  • When the cell phone cannot be used, like at dinner time, during homework hours, or at bedtime.
  • Never texting while walking—this can be anywhere, including parking lots, the mall, sidewalks, or even at home. This can distract your child and can be dangerous if they aren’t paying attention to their surroundings.
  • Never texting while driving and following the state laws when it comes to cell phone and hands-free use in the car.
  • Only downloading approved apps.
  • Designating specific times to use social media apps such as Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Kik, WhatsApp, TikTok, etc.
  • Keeping personal information, such as their school name, hometown, phone number, birth date, and address, off social media.
  • The understanding that the phone is the property of the parents and can be rescinded at any time for misuse.
  • A clear definition of who is responsible for replacing the phone if it’s lost.

As you establish ground rules, consider creating a cell phone agreement for your child to sign, and give them a copy to keep and comply with. The contract can include the estimated cost of the cell phone, whether or not you will be monitoring the phone and its usage, and a statement that phone privileges can be discontinued at any time for misuse. Warning your child of the consequences of misusing their phone ahead of time makes it easier to take their phone away, if needed.

What type of phone to get for your child

Cell phones are expensive, and your child probably doesn’t need the newest model with all the bells and whistles. The best first phone for a child is either a used one (several generations old) or a basic phone with limited functions.

If your child proves they are responsible by taking good care of their phone and responding to your texts and calls, you can consider upgrading them to a better phone, if needed.

How to use parental controls

Self-control is not necessarily a strong suit in the still-developing mind of a child, and setting parental controls on their phone can help protect them.

Parental controls can include restrictions on downloading apps, preventing explicit content, restricting Web searches, and only allowing certain games. Start off by restricting as much as you feel you need to and eventually allow more options with proven responsibility.

Monitoring with privacy

There’s an ongoing debate about the balance of parental monitoring and a child’s privacy, and it’s up to each parent to decide on an individual basis. Just as a parent helps their child learn to ride a bike or drive a car, they can also help their child learn how to safely use their cell phone.

Kids rarely make phone calls anymore — instead, they use messaging for most of their conversations. Looking over social media interactions, app use, and texts can offer insight into bullying, disparaging comments, signs of suicide from friends, or unsolicited sexting from friends or strangers. Does your child know how to handle these situations? Will your child tell you about it?

Keep in mind that many kids don’t use text messaging like their parents do. They prefer Snapchat or Instagram messaging, and now both social media apps make messages disappear after a certain amount of time. Staying up-to-date on what apps your child is using and how they can be used for messaging can help keep you informed about your child’s online activity.

Most cell phone carriers offer packages to help parents with monitoring, and a number of parental monitoring apps are also available with varying degrees of tracking. These apps can alert you when specific words are used in messages your child sends or receives and offer more privacy by allowing you to focus on certain messages rather than every communication.

Cell phones can be helpful for families when used correctly. Taking the time to set up ground rules can help teach your child responsibility and will offer peace of mind as you navigate the treacherous waters that can come with your child’s first phone.

About the Author

Lori Cunningham a family tech advocate and contributing writer for Xfinity Mobile. She is a mom to two creative children ages 13 and 15, and always looking to find new ways technology can help families with their scheduled lives.

Parents often wonder what the right age is for their child to have a cell phone, but the truth is, every child is different. It depends on the child’s maturity, ability to be responsible, and the family’s communication needs.

As you consider what works best for your family, use the following tips to help set ground rules and parental controls, and to decipher the delicate balance between monitoring your child’s cell phone use and respecting their privacy.

How to set ground rules

Like driving a car for the first time, most kids are excited to get their first cell phone. And when learning to drive, kids must go through driver’s education and have limitations placed on them once they can drive on their own.

The same rings true for cell phones. As adults, we know the distractions our phones can pose. Before you give your child a phone, discuss cell phone safety and the ground rules you expect them to follow. Start small and allow more freedom with earned responsibility.

Cell phone rules and expectations can include:

  • When the cell phone cannot be used, like at dinner time, during homework hours, or at bedtime.
  • Never texting while walking—this can be anywhere, including parking lots, the mall, sidewalks, or even at home. This can distract your child and can be dangerous if they aren’t paying attention to their surroundings.
  • Never texting while driving and following the state laws when it comes to cell phone and hands-free use in the car.
  • Only downloading approved apps.
  • Designating specific times to use social media apps such as Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Kik, WhatsApp, TikTok, etc.
  • Keeping personal information, such as their school name, hometown, phone number, birth date, and address, off social media.
  • The understanding that the phone is the property of the parents and can be rescinded at any time for misuse.
  • A clear definition of who is responsible for replacing the phone if it’s lost.

As you establish ground rules, consider creating a cell phone agreement for your child to sign, and give them a copy to keep and comply with. The contract can include the estimated cost of the cell phone, whether or not you will be monitoring the phone and its usage, and a statement that phone privileges can be discontinued at any time for misuse. Warning your child of the consequences of misusing their phone ahead of time makes it easier to take their phone away, if needed.

What type of phone to get for your child

Cell phones are expensive, and your child probably doesn’t need the newest model with all the bells and whistles. The best first phone for a child is either a used one (several generations old) or a basic phone with limited functions.

If your child proves they are responsible by taking good care of their phone and responding to your texts and calls, you can consider upgrading them to a better phone, if needed.

How to use parental controls

Self-control is not necessarily a strong suit in the still-developing mind of a child, and setting parental controls on their phone can help protect them.

Parental controls can include restrictions on downloading apps, preventing explicit content, restricting Web searches, and only allowing certain games. Start off by restricting as much as you feel you need to and eventually allow more options with proven responsibility.

Monitoring with privacy

There’s an ongoing debate about the balance of parental monitoring and a child’s privacy, and it’s up to each parent to decide on an individual basis. Just as a parent helps their child learn to ride a bike or drive a car, they can also help their child learn how to safely use their cell phone.

Kids rarely make phone calls anymore — instead, they use messaging for most of their conversations. Looking over social media interactions, app use, and texts can offer insight into bullying, disparaging comments, signs of suicide from friends, or unsolicited sexting from friends or strangers. Does your child know how to handle these situations? Will your child tell you about it?

Keep in mind that many kids don’t use text messaging like their parents do. They prefer Snapchat or Instagram messaging, and now both social media apps make messages disappear after a certain amount of time. Staying up-to-date on what apps your child is using and how they can be used for messaging can help keep you informed about your child’s online activity.

Most cell phone carriers offer packages to help parents with monitoring, and a number of parental monitoring apps are also available with varying degrees of tracking. These apps can alert you when specific words are used in messages your child sends or receives and offer more privacy by allowing you to focus on certain messages rather than every communication.

Cell phones can be helpful for families when used correctly. Taking the time to set up ground rules can help teach your child responsibility and will offer peace of mind as you navigate the treacherous waters that can come with your child’s first phone.

About the Author

Lori Cunningham a family tech advocate and contributing writer for Xfinity Mobile. She is a mom to two creative children ages 13 and 15, and always looking to find new ways technology can help families with their scheduled lives.

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.

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.
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