We got a chance to talk about internet security with UFCU. Tony Rosas is an information security officer at UFCU, and he has tips for the conversation parents need to have with their kids these days. The best way to protect your kids online? Talk to them. While kids value the opinions of their peers, most tend to rely on their parents for help on the issues that matter most.

  • Start early. Young kids see their parents using all kinds of devices – and also might be playing games or watching shows on them. As soon as your child starts using a phone, mobile device, or computer, it’s time to talk to them about online behavior and safety.
  • Initiate conversations. Even if your kids are comfortable approaching you, don’t wait for them to start the conversation. Use everyday opportunities to talk to your kids about being online. For example, news stories about cyber bullying or texting while driving can spur a conversation with kids about their experiences and your expectations.
  • Communicate your expectations. Be honest about your expectations and how they apply in an online context. Communicating your values clearly can help your kids make smarter and more thoughtful decisions when they face tricky situations. For instance, be specific about what’s off-limits – and what you consider to be unacceptable behavior.
  • Be patient and supportive. Resist the urge to rush through these conversations with your kids. Most kids need to hear information repeated, in small doses, for it to sink in. If you keep talking with your kids, your patience and persistence will pay off in the long run. Work hard to keep the lines of communication open, even if you learn your kid has done something online that you find inappropriate. Listening and taking their feelings into account helps keep conversations afloat. You may not have all the answers, and being honest about that can go a long way.

Talk to your kids about how they can help protect their devices and your family’s personal information.

  • Create strong passwords, and keep them private. The longer the password, the harder it is to crack. Date of birth, login name, or common words are not safe passwords. Ask your kids to be creative and come up with different passwords for different accounts. It may be tempting to re-use the same password, but if it’s stolen, hackers can use it to access other accounts. Kids also can protect their passwords by not sharing them with anyone, including their friends.
  • Don’t provide personal or financial information unless the website is secure. If you or your kids send messages, share photos, use social networks, or bank online, you’re sending personal information over the internet. Teach your kids: if the URL doesn’t start with https, don’t enter any personal information. That “s” stands for secure. It means the information you’re sending is encrypted and protected.

UFCU hosts seminars all the time on a variety of financial topics, ranging from investments to buying your first home. Visit them online for more details or call 512-467-8080.

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