Keeping your child's information safe during remote learning

Posted at 9:18 AM, Aug 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 09:57:04-04

BOISE, Idaho — Thousands of Idaho students have or will be returning to school virtually this fall. That means parents will have to balance helping their students, along with work and other duties. So how can you get them off to a good--and safe--start?

Rebecca Barr with the Better Business Bureau says it all starts by setting up accounts with strong passwords. Barr says to think of passwords like a wall between free access to your personal information and the world. If you put up a strong wall, it'll be difficult for others to break it down. Barr also suggests using different passwords for different accounts so hackers have to break down multiple walls instead of just one.

If you're running low on creative ideas for different passwords, try using song lyrics. Not only is it basically impossible for hackers to guess what song you're using, it’s even harder for them to guess which lyrics you’re using on top of that, and it can help you and your child remember it.

Parents should keep in mind that kids often have a tougher time spotting the difference in what is real and what is not while online. That makes them especially vulnerable once virtual classes are in session. Anyone with an email account, for example, receives spam and junk mail in their inbox. Barr says if you don’t have much online experience, those spam emails may seem pretty legitimate. Clicking on one of the links, though, could result in a pricey bill from a fraudulent website or giving scammers access to your banking information.

Other things to keep in mind: keep your location on lockdown. Just about every app wants to know where its users are so it can track their whereabouts. Unless it is absolutely necessary for the app to keep tabs on your location, go into your device’s settings, and disable that feature.

Take control. The best way to safeguard your kids’ online privacy is to teach them to manage it themselves. Still, it doesn’t hurt to mix in some parental controls as a back-up.

Share with care. Any information kids share online can easily be copied, and it is almost impossible to take back. Before posting anything important, have a discussion about who might see the post and how it might be perceived in the future.

For more on keeping your personal information safe, click here.