As our children grow, we teach them to keep their keys safe, keep their pocket money safe, and keep themselves safe! They are online just as much as adults during this period of remote learning, and are therefore equally at risk of having their online identity stolen or misused. We must, therefore, protect their privacy and teach them to keep themselves safe online just as we do in the real world.
Children can unknowingly reveal too many personal details which, although may not have immediate consequences, can lead to identity theft, bullying, blackmail or grooming.
We should, with no doubt, be encouraging the building of online relationships and sharing content, but it is crucial to talk to children about the hazards of sharing too much information. Some conversation topics to raise with your child may include:
- Types of information that should not be shared online. For example, their full name, their home address, and the name of their school.
- Who they are talking to or sharing information with and where are they doing this? Is it a one-to-one conversation or can other people see your conversation? Avoid talking to people you don’t know!
- When choosing a username in an app or game, use a name which doesn’t include their full name.
To support protecting children’s identity online, there are some key actions which should be executed. Firstly, check and double check the privacy settings of every app and social networking site. Do this with your child and agree with them what they will share and with whom. Then, check the privacy settings on all devices they use. Look out for:
- Location services
- Sharing of contacts, photos and calendars
- Microphone and video sharing settings.
If you think your child’s identity has been stolen, report to the website in question and help to change the login details. This may require getting in touch with technical support. If you feel you need any further support on this, the following websites are a good place to start…
Get Safe Online