With more of our personal lives being shared online, we believe it’s super important for kids to understand how they can keep data and personal information safe. Here are our top tips on how you can do this!
1. Choose a smart password
Although many things can now be unlocked using fingerprint or face ID, all accounts still require a password. The tricky thing is remembering all of them. It’s not a good idea to use the same password for all accounts, as if one account gets hacked, those details can easily be used to access others.
The secret recipe is choosing a password that you can easily remember, but not easy for anyone to guess. These tips can help you set a smart password:
Don’t use any items in your password that people could easily learn about you: if your dog is called Spot or you’re born in July, avoid adding this to your password. Information like this can be easy for people to work out.
If you’ve found a memorable password, strengthen it with capitals, numbers and special characters: Let’s say you decide you like the phrase butterscotchtaffy and that’s something you’ll remember. Having it all letters isn’t very secure, so you can make things harder by replacing some letters with numbers or characters. For example – 8utt3r5c0tc#T@FFY. Check out our short list of characters you can use to replace certain letters in your password.
The most important password to remember is your email’s: many accounts you set up will have your email linked to it. If you forget the password, you can easily click ‘forgot password’ to get a password reset link sent to you. So if you’re finding it hard to remember multiple passwords, just make sure your email password is the one you never forget!
2. Know what you’re sharing
You might be using some sites or apps where you create a profile, post comments or share pictures with friends. It’s important you know who sees what you’re sharing online.
Websites and apps may have settings that are already set on your account. Sometimes these are useful, like receiving a notification when a friend from school messages you online. But other times, some settings might already be switched on which might share your profile to the public.
All digital or online services will have ‘Account Settings’, a ‘Privacy’ or ‘Preferences’ section where you can find the different data and sharing options. You can go here to limit what you’d like to be notified on or share. Look for this in the accounts menu or settings section.
There are great sites out there which suggest what settings to choose based on your age, but if you’re unsure just ask a parent or guardian.
Not everything online is always as it seems! Although many companies aim to provide safe services for everybody to use, there are some cyber criminals out there who look to trick people.
Ask yourself, is it too good to be true?
You may see an advert to get a free new tablet, by sharing your email and name. Most things don’t come for free and they generally won’t come at such low effort. Scams like this can steal personal information that they can use to try and hack your accounts.
Look out for fake email accounts!
If you receive an email from a company out of the blue, requesting you to click a link and log in, look at the email ‘From’ section before clicking anything. Many hackers use this method called ‘Phishing’ as a way to steal passwords. You can generally tell if the email address isn’t from the company as the @ isn’t their website’s URL – but instead a hotmail or gmail account.
Also, most companies will generally never ask you to login from an email link. The only time this might occur is if you’ve requested a password reset link.
If you’re ever in doubt that a message is real, you can always contact the company on their website and ask.
4. Don’t let the tick trick you!
Stronger rules have been put in place by governments around the world to help you understand and clearly show what you’re agreeing to be sent or share. However there are still companies out there that might try and trick you into accepting these by automatically ticking the boxes for you. Some may also word the statement in a confusing way. E.g. by ticking this box you are accepting not to receive emails from XYZ ltd.
Anytime you see a tick box, take the time to read the statement clearly so you can be happy and confident with what you’re agreeing to!