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Online Safety

How to keep your children safe online from toddler to teen, online safety

Children and teens love being online. The older they get, the more they love it. Whether it’s watching videos on YouTube, playing Fortnite or interacting with friends from school on SnapChat and Instagram, our kids spend a lot of time online. The thing is, do we really know who they’re hanging out within the online world? We can’t even be sure that we know who we’re dealing with in this world of online personas and filters. Is anyone who they seem to be? I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to keep my children safe online from the toddler age through to their teens.

Maybe it would be easier if our kids were just playing outside. But that’s not the real world. It’s only part of it and our kids need to learn how to navigate safely through the digital world. It’s not like when we were kids. There’s a whole online world connecting our children to people all over the world. All the hoping and wishing is not going to unring that bell.

READ ALSO: Online Persona who’s real and who isn’t? How to know the difference.

There may be those that argue that digital technology makes children unhealthy from the lack of fresh air and physical activity. People will tell you that this generation of kids will be awkward and develop poor social skills but I think that’s an alarmist attitude. Our children need to have their bearings in both worlds because currently, the future is living in one and experiencing life in the other.

There are solid arguments in defense of having exposure to technology from a young age. Many games involve complex problems that need solving. Schools use online classrooms and apps to teach our kids. These same games can improve hand-eye coordination and children learn very quickly how to use technology in great depth, in a very natural and intuitive way.

A bigger concern though is how safe our children are online. With access to so much, often unrestricted content, how do we know that our children are not going to come into contact with things that they’re not old enough to deal with? We have parental controls on our daughters’ computers and phones. They are only allowed the apps we give them permission to use and we check often. But even the most vigilant parent can’t be everywhere all the time. We need to teach our children, from an early age, how to be safe and smart online.

READ ALSO: How to keep your family safe online

The other aspect of this is also a concern over who they might come into contact with. There is always a worry with social media or games that have chat functions, that children may come into contact with strangers who prey on the young. My biggest fear is a pedophile posing as another child, gaining my daughters’ trust and violating them in some way.

So how do we deal with this challenge? Nobody wants to cut their children off entirely from enjoying something they love, and with technology being a bigger and bigger part of our lives, the children of today will have even more of a relationship with technology.  As parents, we have to keep them informed, tech-savvy and safe by doing a few simple things.

Take An Interest In What Your Child Is Doing Online

Make online activities a family experience where you can. Get involved with their gaming, and spend time understanding what they’re doing when they are online. My girls only game online when their dad is playing with them. Keeping a healthy, positive interest will mean that your children will be less likely to hide activity from you. If you know the games, they’re playing, and the sites that they’re visiting, you’ll have a better idea of what any specific risks are. This will help you put things in place to minimize these risks.

Teach your children about passwords by sitting with them when they sign up to their first sites. Make sure they learn early on how important passwords are, and that they should use different passwords on different websites and use a healthy mix of letters (upper and lowercase), numbers and special characters.

Having Straight, Honest Conversations

Be honest with your children about the dangers of strangers online, and the kind of content on there, but try not to scare them too much. They do have to live and work online. Encourage them to be cautious. Encourage your children to talk to you about anything that they see so that if something ever happens, they go to you immediately.

Parental Controls

Make sure you know how to access any master parental controls from your home router, as well on every device your children might have access to. This is so important. Find out about the best apps and devices for monitoring your kids safe online activity. Make sure that these are installed and working.

“Friend” Your Children

If your children are using social media, befriend or follow them online. Your children need to learn that anything they post online has the potential to be viewed by anyone and that once it’s posted, even if it gets deleted, it could come back and cause them damage. I taught my girls from the beginning to not post anything that they wouldn’t want their grandpa seeing. I’ve also shown them how screenshot works and the reality that nothing is temporary on the internet. The Internet is forever.

How to keep your children safe online from toddler to teen, online safetyThese are just a few tips for keeping your children safe online. What’s your best tip?

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Internet security, internet casualty, online safety

I don’t want to become an Internet casualty. As a Lionlock ambassador, I take password and online security very seriously. Safety online is not just needed it is imperative in my line of work. As a blogger, I am in the business of sharing my life out loud on the Internet. Even as someone who has been doing this for years now and as an adult, I still have security slips. I sometimes forget that the Internet is forever and I get caught with my metaphorical pants down.

You know that saying, “A moment on the lips, and forever on the hips”? Well, the Internet is JUST.LIKE.THAT! We are so trusting of the Internet that we often forget that a moment on the Internet truly is FOREVER in the world. You can delete and undo all sorts of things but you are always just a screen grab away for being immortalized in Internet infamy. Those private sexts you sent to your ex? There is no such thing. You say Snap Chat? I say screen grab. That nasty comment you left and then deleted? Already sitting in someone’s inbox. That petty FB update about your soon to be ex? Yep, his lawyers already have a copy in their file. The cute naked photo of your toddler in the bathtub that you uploaded and promptly second-guessed and took down 5 minutes later? Some pedo is already getting his rocks off to it. There is no privacy online.

We’ve all put something on the Internet that we wish we hadn’t. It’s embarrassing and we get over it. It’s like going to a party, drinking too much and wanting to crawl under a rock and die the next day when you see the proof on Facebook. It might not ruin us, but it might. None the less, we’d prefer those moments stayed private because we are left feeling compromised and vulnerable. Unfortunately, there are no second chances on the Internet so you have to know going in that everything you put on the Internet is set in stone for eternity. No matter how badly it may differ from reality.  The Internet knows you from glimpses, social media shares and sound bites. There is no emotion, connotation, context or empathy. There is only what you say, what you share and what it sees. The Internet is a cold-hearted bitch and she doesn’t get innuendo or anecdotes. So what you put out there is who she thinks you are. So be safe and think before you go online.

While LionLock automatically audits any interaction that takes place with your passwords in the vault, it is still important to use common sense when sharing any important private information.

Here are a few online security tips to keep you from becoming just another Internet casualty.

1. Keep a Clean Machine

Keep all Internet connected devices free from infection and malware by keeping all critical software—security software, web browsers, apps and operating systems—up to date so that you can counter any new viruses lurking.

Have your security software set to monitor your computer continually, not just a weekly scan.

2. Protect Your Personal Information

Secure your accounts by making passwords long, strong and unique.

3. Own Your Online Presence

This is my favorite. I am very transparent; probably more so than I should be, but I know when I put it out there that it is out there. I consider this every single time I post anything. Set security and privacy settings to your comfort level of sharing.

4. When in Doubt, Throw it Out

If an email, social network post or text looks suspicious, even if you know the source, delete it.

5. Be Web Wise

Be wary of communications that implore you to act immediately, offer something that sounds too good to be true, or ask for personal information.

6. Be a Good Online Citizen or Don’t be a Web Douche canoe

Post only about others what you would have them post about you.

7. Beware of public Wi-Fi ( hint: There is no such thing as FREE wi-fi)

Anytime you use public Wi-Fi, keep in mind that everything you do can be visible to a 3rd party/stranger that is also connected to the network. Criminals can see everything the users do and capture any information that is sent over the network. Find a staff member at the coffee shop or hotel that can verify the name of the proper network. Also disable auto-connection features when Wi-Fi is not in use.

8. Save money matters for your trusted networks

Even if you’re not on a compromised Wi-Fi hotspot, it’s really best to wait until you’re back on a secure network you trust before shopping or banking. If it’s an emergency and you need to move funds from one account to another, use your cellular data connection rather than public Wi-Fi.

9. Use Secure Sites (Https://)

Secure SSL connections are connections that encrypt any data you send through a website, adding a layer of protection for your private information. There are a couple different ways that you can check to verify that a site is secure. The first is that you’ll notice the https:// turns into https://, with the s indicating it is a secure network. Additionally, there should be a padlock displayed in the URL bar.

10. Secure your mobile devices

In addition to installing security software on computers, it is equally important to have a mobile security app, for your mobile devices. These apps will help your mobile devices stay secure by detecting security flaws in your apps and preventing you from clicking on malicious links.

The Internet is a wonderful place to live and play but it really is what you make it. Just like your home, you wouldn’t go on vacation and leave all the doors and windows open nor would you announce to the neighborhood gossip that you have syphilis. So use your common sense and take precautions to protect yourself online just like you would in your real life.

How do you keep yourself from becoming just another Internet casualty?

 

 

Photo Credit: Ellen von Unwerth

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Lionlock but all opinions are my own. Don’t be an Internet Casualty!

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LionLock, Safety, Internet, password protection

Last month when I announced my ambassadorship with LionLock, I told you what an incredible password management tool I think it is. It’s perfect for every 21st century small business from freelance writers, digital marketing professionals, and social media consultants to virtual assistants. And let’s not forget about us busy 21st century parents who do everything from monitor their nannycams to subscribe to parenting websites and manage their baby’s college fund online. We trust the Internet. We depend on it.

LionLock can securely store all kinds of protected information, including passwords, website logins, bank accounts and credit card details. This information is your “secrets”; called so because they should be protected. Each account or password is it’s own separate secret.

LionLock then encrypts and stores all of your Secrets using AES-256, which is the same level of encryption the government uses for Top Secret documents and then stores all of your information in the vault. It’s one secure place that you can access from your work computer, home computer or any of your mobile devices.

If you need to share a “secret” you created with clients, you can easily grant them access. If the situation or your mind changes, simply adjust their access permissions. You only have to change one password. It’s that simple.  As the Secret Owner you have full control of a Secret. Only you can edit, delete, and grant access to other users.

To help secret owners know how their accounts are being used, LionLock keeps automatic reports of all the users of that you share vaults/passwords with and date/time users viewed or changed any passwords that hey have access to. Owners can view all reports associated with a secret they own. You have complete control of your “secrets”. Nice, right?

But, where does all that information go? I mean the Internet can be a giant scary place and sometimes, I have so much information out “there” that I get a little agoraphobic and want to just keep it all close to home but that’s not really a solution. What am I a social media password hoarder? Maybe I need an intervention.

I work from home and I am my own brand so my reputation means everything. If a brand hires me or I am collaborating on a campaign with a client, I need to be responsible and professional not only for my sake but for theirs, as well. Those pieces of paper with notes written all over them is not professional. It’s very unprofessional and it is just an accident waiting to happen and jobs to be lost.  If I want to be taken seriously, I need to act seriously. My clients need to know that their information is safe on my site and in my hands.

So where does all that private, personal information go? This is going to be a little technical but you will be glad that I told you, so bear with me. Amazon EC2 secure servers in the United States host LionLock. It’s sort of like Dropbox taken to the security extreme. One major security feature of LionLock is that the passwords are not stored on the client machine (my computer, laptop or phone). Nope all the passwords are stored in the secure Lionlock website.

What does any of this mean to you and why should you care? Well, if your computer crashes, your passwords are safely stored on the cloud so you do not have to freak out worrying that they are gone forever and you will have to look unprofessional losing all of your information. People pay you so they don’t have to worry about every single detail.

Also, with passwords being stored offsite (like your money in the Cayman islands) there is never the worry that someone is going to “accidentally” get access from your computer. All passwords are retrieved from the Lionlock website using a secure SSL connection; this is the same web standard used by banks. And no, the developers at Lionlock do not have access to Amazon’s servers and data so they cannot access your “secrets”.

If you don’t believe me, try LionLock out for yourself. An account for up to three users and 25 passwords is free!  If you need more users and unlimited password storage, LionLock has that too! I’m hooked because it just makes my daily work so much easier and more streamlined. I have everything securely stored for myself and my clients.

Lionlock allows me to trust that my passwords and my clients are safe and so is my my reputation.

Have you had the chance to try LionLock yet?

 

 

Photo Credit: 1954 Ellen von Unwerth

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Lionlock but all opinions are my own.

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