Modern technology gives children access to a wealth of information, but along with that information comes risk. Web users with bad intentions often attempt to target children for identity theft, device hacks and worse. This is enough to make any parent think twice before handing over a new phone or tablet.
While many criminals target internet users with malicious motives, you can arm your kids with the knowledge and skills they need to protect themselves. Below, learn top strategies to keep your kids safe online.
Install trackers and blockers
While your children may say website blockers and web activity trackers are an invasion of privacy, they can be an effective protective measure. Some phones, computers, web browsers and internet routers give parents options to track web use and block adult, illegal and other harmful content.
Ellen Segriff, Head of Privacy and Cyber Information Security, UBS, says parents "should definitely limit access of young children to the internet." This should not be a passive effort, Segriff continues. "It means you are going to have to install monitoring tools, check their browsing history and review their social media profiles."
Teach kids what to look out for
Trusting the wrong people online can lead to dangerous situations. "A lot of it comes down to being safe on social media. That's one place where predators go" to target young people, according to Segriff.
Jamie Howard, Deputy Head of Fraud, Risk Management and Investigations, UBS, explains that this is not limited to smartphones and laptops. "It includes PlayStation and other devices connected to the internet. This is where some of the worst behavior begins."
Also, be aware that web blocking software does not restrict social media sites by default, requiring you to take additional preventative steps. This can begin by explaining the risks of trusting the wrong people online. Diligent parents should "stay involved and make sure your child understands that you are doing this [in his or her] best interest," says Segriff. At the very least, tell kids to never enter their own or other family members' information online without your consent.
Team up for a safer internet experience
"Sometimes young people may not understand what they are [posting]—and it lives forever," notes Segriff. This is why it is more important than ever that parents stay engaged in their families' online activity.
The web may have not been a part of your experience growing up, but it's a fixture of daily life for kids today. As a father himself, Howard believes "education and communication are key." The internet offers a wealth of knowledge, educational opportunities and more, and as long as kids can safely access that information while avoiding those with bad intentions, they can embrace an enjoyable online experience.
Are you doing everything you can to protect and grow your wealth? Together we can find an answer. Connect with your UBS Financial Advisor or find one.