I'm back to share my second set of tips on how to stay safe online. If you missed the first part, you can read it here!
Here we go...
Use passwords on your devices
If a device can be password protected, do it! Think of how much personal information can be accessed from your phone, tablet, or laptop computer – email, text messages, photos, sometimes even a passwords document for your own reference. If your device was lost or stolen, would you want a total stranger to access all of that information? If you're lucky, no one will take advantage of the access. But it can still feel like a violation of your privacy.
Set up a Google Alert for your name
This is an incredibly easy way to stay on top of what's being said about you online. Click here to set up a Google Alert. Type in your name, in quotation marks. Set up multiple alerts for variations of your name if you have a nickname or a maiden name. You can set your preferences for how frequently you receive emails – you'll want to play around with these settings if you have an especially common name, but if your name is somewhat unique, sign up for "as-it-happens" alerts. And voila! You'll get an email when your name is published on the World Wide Web.
Monitor what your children do on the Internet
This could really be a blog post on its own because there are so many things to consider when it comes to kids using smartphones and the Internet in general; for example, at what age should they have a mobile phone? Should they be able to text, or just make phone calls? What apps and social media platforms should you allow them to download/join? The list goes on and on.
When you've decided that your child is old enough to use the Internet or have his/her own smartphone, be sure to set some ground rules (we think this is a really great starting point!). Don't be afraid to share with your child that he/she might encounter inappropriate content online, talk to him/her about cyber-bullying, and be sure you set clear rules about communicating with strangers.
The most important point to consider, in my opinion, is your child's use of location services. Location-based tracking apps on smartphones allow you to show your friends and family where you are in real time. For safety reasons, young children should never use location services. If your teen is interested in using location-based features of certain apps (for instance, to "check in" at a movie theater with friends on a Friday night), be sure to confirm that you're comfortable with his/her privacy settings for those apps.
I hope you've found this two-part blog series to be useful! It can be difficult to keep up with how quickly technology changes, but it's imperative that you are diligent about protecting your personal information and, of course, your children! Do you have questions about protecting yourself online or your Kissimmee homeowner's insurance policy? Don't be afraid to ask! At Harrell Agency Services, we're proud to be your go-to insurance agent in Central Florida.