Kids are spending more time online these days, especially with hybrid learning. We asked David Lukić, security and compliance specialist at IDStrong, to give us a run down on internet safety for kids, including their heightened risk for identity theft.
Getting Read with David Lukić
The stranger danger scare easily applies to a random creepy person your kid might run into on the street, but what about the internet? But how safe are your children and are they prone to identity theft? Because most children do not check their credit, they are often a prime target for cybercriminals. Learn more about the dangers your kids face on the internet and how you can protect them.
Dangers Kids Face on the Internet
The internet provides many benefits to kids. For example, kids have benefited from access to educational material and learn remotely. Also, they can stay in contact with friends who have moved away. Finally, there are unlimited hours of entertainment at their fingertips.
However, the internet also poses several safety risks for kids, including:
- Sexual predators
- Loss of sensitive or financial information
- Infiltration through malware, ransomware, and computer viruses
- Phishing scams
- Financial scams
- Identity theft
How Hackers Make Money from Stolen Identities
Hackers who steal a child’s identity may benefit financially in a number of ways, including:
- Illegally obtained credit card accounts in your children’s names through which purchases or cash advances are made
- Setting up mobile phone accounts
- Creating utility accounts with stolen information
- Using your child’s information to get medical services
- Selling your child’s personal data on the black market
What Happens When Your Child’s Identity Is Stolen?
When a thief manages to steal a person’s identity, the resulting financial havoc can last for many years. The criminal is unlikely to pay the bills stemming from the fraudulent accounts he or she has created. This can result in your child’s credit score drastically becoming lower before they ever need it. Later on in life, they may be unable to secure financing to purchase a vehicle or be approved for a mortgage. Additionally, they may be sued for the unpaid balances on these accounts.
How to Keep Your Child Safe on the Internet: Internet Safety for Kids
Because of the potential dangers that your child can be exposed to on the internet, it is important that you take all reasonable steps to prevent harm to your child. Here are a few effective ways to protect your child from identity theft and other online dangers:
- Supervise your child while on the internet
- Only allow your child to be on the internet in a public place in your home, not in their bedroom
- Only allow your child to use their connected device
- Be aware that many devices that children use may be connected online, including game systems, tablets, and phones
- Do not give out your child’s personal information
- Secure all of your child’s devices when unusedOnly use secured Wi-Fi
- Constantly monitor your credit to detect attacks against your child’s identity
- Be on the alert for information about any data breaches that may have affected your child
- Install firewalls and virus-detection software on all of your child’s devices
- Adjust privacy settings and use parental controls
- Use a VPN
Internet Safety Take-Home Messages
While the internet is a web of connectivity, it can pose dangers to the most vulnerable users. Identity theft of children is a real concern, and one that you must take seriously. Use the tips above to ensure that your child has a safe experience on the internet.
David Lukić is an information privacy, security and compliance consultant at IDstrong.com. The passion to make cyber security accessible and interesting has led David to share all the knowledge he has.