Are you keeping your child safe online? Last week, we talked about the importance of teaching your child how to be smart and safe online. But are you doing everything you can on your end to keep your child’s identity safe and secure?
Let’s start out with the photos you’re posting. Everyone loves posting photos of their newborns or their child’s first day of kindergarten. But do you know that every photo you post has a geotag attached to it? Each geotag contains the longitude and latitude of where the photo was taken. If a criminal were to acquire a photo with a geotag, they would be able to pinpoint exactly where it was taken and exactly where your child is. They could literally figure out where your child is sleeping. Now many sites such as Facebook and Twitter automatically remove the geotagging even if you forgot to disable it on your phone but it’s something to always be aware of!
Secondly, what kind of status updates are you posting about your kids? Do you broadcast to the world what school your children are going to? If they’ll be at Friday night’s football game? What sports they play? It’s not practical to keep silent about every detail of your kid’s life, but it should be kept to minimum – especially if your older teens will be going somewhere without you! – and your privacy settings should be utilized. Otherwise, your giving bad guys all the information they need about where to find your kids are and possibly exploit their identities. Try saying “Excited for Jimmy’s debut in the school play!” instead of listing which school.
And, of course, be involved in your child’s online life. Don’t assume because they’re the generation raised on technology that they can handle themselves. They may know how to navigate a tablet or maybe they even know how to write code, but they’re still kids. They will make mistakes and those online mistakes can cost them in big ways. Always be actively involved and let your good online habits become your child’s. Talk to your kids about secure internet behavior. Some families go as far as to making the kids sign an “internet contract”, covering rules and guidelines for their online behavior.