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Category: Online Safety for Kids

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.

Online Safety Tips for Parents / Kids 2018

safety tips for kids 2018

As fast as the years come and go, Internet technologies change, bringing new challenges for parents and educators when striving to keep kids safe online. Here are a few of the latest tips for online safety including on sites like YouTube*, as well as privacy settings for other websites.

*These tips are not an endorsement of YouTube as being a safe website for kids or teens. For strict filtering of videos, use our Safe Video Search Tool at the top of this website.

5 Tips to Make YouTube Safer

  1. Set up a Family Account. By creating a shared Google account, you can see what videos are viewed and shared with friends. To do this, go to Google on your browser and sign in with a new Google email address and password. You can also use your existing Google account on the computer and browser that kids use.
  2. Turn on Restricted Mode. This feature will help filter out the worst videos, making YouTube a little safer than normal. To activate, scroll down to the bottom of your YouTube account settings page and turn Restricted Mode ON. This has to be done on any browser that is being used and you always have to be logged in for it to work.
  3. Subscribe to Safe Channels. The more you subscribe to favorite ‘kid-friendly’ YouTube channels, the more positive videos will come up for viewing. Kids can also click through to their favorite safe channels and watch more safe videos related to their interests.
  4. Upload Privately. If you want to upload videos of your kids, or they want to upload videos of themselves, mark the video as Private or Unlisted. Private videos are only shared with friends your kids choose to share them with. Unlisted means that only those who are sent the specific link can view it.
  5. Disable Comments. When uploading videos, you can keep bad comments from showing up on your video. In the video upload screen (or the video editing screen after uploading is complete) you can disable comments altogether or keep them unpublished until you are able to review them.

Read more about YouTube Restricted Mode

5 Tips to Protect Your Online Privacy

  1. Make sure all sites visited are secure. Simply look for the “S” in https://. Unsecured sites will not contain the “s”, which stands for secure. Unsecured websites will start with http://.
  2. Make your passwords more complicated by using a combination of letters (upper and lower case), numbers and symbols.
  3. Always use privacy settings and ‘opt out’ buttons within your online accounts, including but not limited to, your social media accounts. This limits how much information is being shared.
  4. Turn off GSP settings on apps to limit the tracking of your location. With the exception of maps and Google search for the purposes of finding local events and businesses, there is really no reason for apps or websites to know where you are located.
  5. Click Carefully. Watch out for links or downloads sent to you in emails, as well as online questionnaires and giveaways. These links may infect your computer or expose kids to unwanted content.

Read more about Facebook Privacy Settings.

To block computer infections when accidentally clicking harmful links,
install Anti-Malware Software.

As fast as the years come and go, Internet technologies change, bringing new challenges for parents and educators when striving to keep kids safe online. Here are a few of the latest tips for online safety including on sites like YouTube*, as well as privacy settings for other websites.

*These tips are not an endorsement of YouTube as being a safe website for kids or teens. For strict filtering of videos, use our Safe Video Search Tool at the top of this website.

5 Tips to Make YouTube Safer

  1. Set up a Family Account. By creating a shared Google account, you can see what videos are viewed and shared with friends. To do this, go to Google on your browser and sign in with a new Google email address and password. You can also use your existing Google account on the computer and browser that kids use.
  2. Turn on Restricted Mode. This feature will help filter out the worst videos, making YouTube a little safer than normal. To activate, scroll down to the bottom of your YouTube account settings page and turn Restricted Mode ON. This has to be done on any browser that is being used and you always have to be logged in for it to work.
  3. Subscribe to Safe Channels. The more you subscribe to favorite ‘kid-friendly’ YouTube channels, the more positive videos will come up for viewing. Kids can also click through to their favorite safe channels and watch more safe videos related to their interests.
  4. Upload Privately. If you want to upload videos of your kids, or they want to upload videos of themselves, mark the video as Private or Unlisted. Private videos are only shared with friends your kids choose to share them with. Unlisted means that only those who are sent the specific link can view it.
  5. Disable Comments. When uploading videos, you can keep bad comments from showing up on your video. In the video upload screen (or the video editing screen after uploading is complete) you can disable comments altogether or keep them unpublished until you are able to review them.

Read more about YouTube Restricted Mode

5 Tips to Protect Your Online Privacy

  1. Make sure all sites visited are secure. Simply look for the “S” in https://. Unsecured sites will not contain the “s”, which stands for secure. Unsecured websites will start with http://.
  2. Make your passwords more complicated by using a combination of letters (upper and lower case), numbers and symbols.
  3. Always use privacy settings and ‘opt out’ buttons within your online accounts, including but not limited to, your social media accounts. This limits how much information is being shared.
  4. Turn off GSP settings on apps to limit the tracking of your location. With the exception of maps and Google search for the purposes of finding local events and businesses, there is really no reason for apps or websites to know where you are located.
  5. Click Carefully. Watch out for links or downloads sent to you in emails, as well as online questionnaires and giveaways. These links may infect your computer or expose kids to unwanted content.

Read more about Facebook Privacy Settings.

To block computer infections when accidentally clicking harmful links,
install Anti-Malware Software.

Zombies Invade the World

Yes! There is a worldwide outbreak—of zombies. Germans calls these shuffling, bent creatures “Smombies,” a word made by joining two words: zombie and smartphones. Smombies are the people you see walking around with their eyes on their smartphones and not on the road ahead.

Each year, hordes of people are hurt by bumping into objects, falling into pools and getting hit by bikes and vehicles.

Innocent drivers who can’t avoid these zombies suffer from the trauma of hurting others. Older and disabled people walking down the street don’t move fast enough to avoid zombies and are commonly bumped and injured.

And this isn’t just taking place in your neighborhood. Zombies are a problem around the world.

In Seoul, South Korea, the city’s transportation department put up signs that show people using smartphones walking into cars. The signs are meant to remind people how dangerous walking can be when they don’t pay attention. The problem is that people must look up from their smartphones to see the signs.

Germany officials put bright strips of LED lights right in the sidewalk. This was done to keep people from walking into city trains. These lights have also been used in sidewalks in the Netherlands. Many people don’t like this idea, because it makes zombies feel that they don’t have to pay attention to the world around them.

In Austria, officials put airbags around lampposts to keep zombie tourists from smashing into them as they walk through the streets looking at their phones.

The city of Chongqing in southwest China has tried to solve this problem by making two walking lanes. One is for people who are not using smartphones as they walk. The other is for people walking with their heads down.

Honolulu, Hawaii, has passed a law making it illegal to enter a crosswalk while you are looking at your smartphone. People who step out into traffic with their eyes on their phone face huge fines.

Because of all the traffic accidents caused by zombies with their phones, Brazil has older ladies helping young smartphone addicts cross the street safely.

All around the world, zombies—or smombies, if you prefer–put themselves and other people in danger. You can help stop the invasion. Remember this: a smartphone weighs about 4 ounces. A car can weigh about 80,000 ounces. When they hit each other, who do you think will win?

Now, look up.

Yes! There is a worldwide outbreak—of zombies. Germans calls these shuffling, bent creatures “Smombies,” a word made by joining two words: zombie and smartphones. Smombies are the people you see walking around with their eyes on their smartphones and not on the road ahead.

Each year, hordes of people are hurt by bumping into objects, falling into pools and getting hit by bikes and vehicles.

Innocent drivers who can’t avoid these zombies suffer from the trauma of hurting others. Older and disabled people walking down the street don’t move fast enough to avoid zombies and are commonly bumped and injured.

And this isn’t just taking place in your neighborhood. Zombies are a problem around the world.

In Seoul, South Korea, the city’s transportation department put up signs that show people using smartphones walking into cars. The signs are meant to remind people how dangerous walking can be when they don’t pay attention. The problem is that people must look up from their smartphones to see the signs.

Germany officials put bright strips of LED lights right in the sidewalk. This was done to keep people from walking into city trains. These lights have also been used in sidewalks in the Netherlands. Many people don’t like this idea, because it makes zombies feel that they don’t have to pay attention to the world around them.

In Austria, officials put airbags around lampposts to keep zombie tourists from smashing into them as they walk through the streets looking at their phones.

The city of Chongqing in southwest China has tried to solve this problem by making two walking lanes. One is for people who are not using smartphones as they walk. The other is for people walking with their heads down.

Honolulu, Hawaii, has passed a law making it illegal to enter a crosswalk while you are looking at your smartphone. People who step out into traffic with their eyes on their phone face huge fines.

Because of all the traffic accidents caused by zombies with their phones, Brazil has older ladies helping young smartphone addicts cross the street safely.

All around the world, zombies—or smombies, if you prefer–put themselves and other people in danger. You can help stop the invasion. Remember this: a smartphone weighs about 4 ounces. A car can weigh about 80,000 ounces. When they hit each other, who do you think will win?

Now, look up.

Small Print for Small Humans

kids online privacy policies

Do you really want someone to use your phone to record what you say without you knowing? Do you really want strangers looking at all your pictures and texts? Then you better learn about SMALL PRINT. How about strangers selling your pictures and texts to other people? Or following everything you do online?

Of course, secretly peeking into your life is wrong. Still, you probably clicked on a box that gave someone you don’t know permission to do just that.

Whenever you activate a phone or play a computer game or download an app, you see itsy bitsy print at the bottom of the pages. Those tiny words are filled with things that you need to check off before you can use your new computer or play that new game.  Those words can be so small that you probably can’t even read them.

If you could read them, they’d sound like gibberish. Many adults with years of education have trouble understanding what those weird words mean. Your parents should look at any small print that you check off, but they might have problems figuring out what they say. What people do know is that when you check the “AGREED” box, you give strangers permission to do scary things.

Do you:

– use a web browser?

– play games online?

– download apps to your phone or computer?

– upload pictures for your friends to see?

-store pictures or text in a cloud?

If you do, then here is a list of just some of the things that you have probably agreed to let strangers do:

  • turn your video and audio recorders on
  • take and use your pictures and videos
  • turn your gaming machine off forever
  • track everything you do online and share or sell your activity
  • prevent you or your parents from legally stopping people from sharing details from your lives.

Small print is tricky. Teams of well-trained lawyers spend thousands of hours working on every little word. All that time and all those brains are there to protect the big companies that you use online. It’s up to you and your parents to protect YOU.

Make a point of looking for small print. Grab a bunch of your friends and see if all of you can figure out exactly what you agree to when you click that little box. You will be surprised.

 

Do you really want someone to use your phone to record what you say without you knowing? Do you really want strangers looking at all your pictures and texts? Then you better learn about SMALL PRINT. How about strangers selling your pictures and texts to other people? Or following everything you do online?

Of course, secretly peeking into your life is wrong. Still, you probably clicked on a box that gave someone you don’t know permission to do just that.

Whenever you activate a phone or play a computer game or download an app, you see itsy bitsy print at the bottom of the pages. Those tiny words are filled with things that you need to check off before you can use your new computer or play that new game.  Those words can be so small that you probably can’t even read them.

If you could read them, they’d sound like gibberish. Many adults with years of education have trouble understanding what those weird words mean. Your parents should look at any small print that you check off, but they might have problems figuring out what they say. What people do know is that when you check the “AGREED” box, you give strangers permission to do scary things.

Do you:

– use a web browser?

– play games online?

– download apps to your phone or computer?

– upload pictures for your friends to see?

-store pictures or text in a cloud?

If you do, then here is a list of just some of the things that you have probably agreed to let strangers do:

  • turn your video and audio recorders on
  • take and use your pictures and videos
  • turn your gaming machine off forever
  • track everything you do online and share or sell your activity
  • prevent you or your parents from legally stopping people from sharing details from your lives.

Small print is tricky. Teams of well-trained lawyers spend thousands of hours working on every little word. All that time and all those brains are there to protect the big companies that you use online. It’s up to you and your parents to protect YOU.

Make a point of looking for small print. Grab a bunch of your friends and see if all of you can figure out exactly what you agree to when you click that little box. You will be surprised.

 

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