No matter how carefully you have talked to your kids about what they post on social media, your child could be posting things that put you and them at risk. Even though you have talked to them about what things they should refrain from posting, little mistakes can create a security nightmare for parents.
The Most Common Mistakes Kids Make Posting Online
When kids post on social media, they often reveal too much information without realizing it. The most common security mistakes that kids make when they’re posting online are:
Showing a Home Address or Floor Plan
To your kids, the latest TikTok dance trend is a fun chance for them to go outside and be silly to make some content for their accounts. But with one camera pan, they can reveal your house number, street name, or both. Revealing information like your home address can put everyone who lives in the house at risk.
Similarly, when kids are filming content inside the house or taking photos inside, they can reveal a lot about the home’s floor plan, including windows, doors, and whether or not there is a security system. If someone with bad intentions is combing through your child’s social media, they may be able to find vulnerabilities that will make your entire family a target.
Revealing School or Private Information
Kids may inadvertently reveal sensitive information, like the school they attend, when they wear a school-branded shirt in one of their social media posts. Sometimes, kids mistakenly reveal their parents’ cars in the driveway, showing their license plates and a school sticker. Any information about their personal lives could become a huge security risk.
Getting Devices Infected with Spyware
When kids receive a phishing email or click on a link they don’t realize is suspicious, it can lead to a criminal installing malware or spyware on their devices. Once malware or spyware is on a child’s phone or tablet, it can spread through their accounts to your devices or the family desktop computer. The spyware can put your passwords, banking information, and other sensitive financial information at risk.
Getting Tracked by Third-Parties
Every time your kids go online, they are likely getting tracked by advertisers, app developers, and more. According to the Washington Post, a study conducted in 2020 found that two-thirds of apps played by preschool-age children collected and shared information. The data collected could get shared on potentially dangerous platforms like the dark web.
Safety Tips That Will Protect You And Your Kids
Every parent wants to protect their kids on social media. Here are the best safety practices to safeguard the whole family:
SafeSearch settings allow parents to create custom protocols to protect their kids online. SafeSearch will blur any material that might be explicit, gory, violent, or in any way inappropriate for children.
You manage SafeSearch settings through your Google account. Once you enable SafeSearch, you will turn on the blur feature and other security protocols. SafeSearch settings will keep explicit material out of search results and ensure your children aren’t viewing material that is too mature.
Use Social Media Security Settings
Social media platforms have a suite of security settings that parents can enable to help keep children safe. Parents should take the time to review their children’s social media accounts and use security settings like limiting followers, setting age requirements, and filtering out suspicious accounts that might follow them.
Edit Your Children’s Videos
Even when kids are careful, they could reveal too much in videos they make for their social media. You may not be able to shoot all their videos for them, but you can edit them before your child posts them. Create a rule that you must see and edit any video or photo your child wants to post on social media—allowing you to edit, blur, or disguise any personal information in the video or photo.
If you receive pushback from your kids, enable tracking software to better monitor activity. For instance, a keylogger tool can help monitor social media accounts, including any chats occurring with your children on the platforms.
Use Spam Filters
Scammers target kids because they’re more likely to impulsively click links, answer texts, and open their devices to malware or spyware. You can’t totally eliminate scam emails and texts. Still, you can install secure spam blockers to filter potentially dangerous emails before they even land in your child’s inbox. To protect your children from unwanted texts, set privacy settings on their phone, keep their number unlisted, and put the number on the do not call registry.
Keep an Open Dialogue with Your Kids
Letting your children try to navigate the digital world is scary because one mistake could have disastrous consequences. But you can’t keep them out of the digital world. The best thing you can do to ensure your child uses social media responsibly is to keep an open discussion with them about digital safety.
Teach them about online privacy and how to keep important information secure without scaring them. By taking proactive steps and staying vigilant, you can help protect your children from potential online threats.