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The Smart Parent Guide to Digital Literacy

If you are the parent of a child or teen who uses the internet, here are some stats you need to know:

Stats About Teens and the Internet

  • Teens think that the internet is mostly private
  • They also think that they can make the best decisions for their life online
  • They believe they are safe online and that people are who they say they are
  • They don’t feel at risk if “friending” perfect strangers
  • They feel like since they are probably better at understanding technology, they can make better decisions than their parents about what’s best practice for online behavior

These are obviously naïve views of the digital world and if parents don’t fully explain why these views aren’t just wrong, but dangerous, then the parent is setting up their child for failure.

Make sure that you are keeping the lines of communication open with your kids about their internet use. Explain the risks involved and share stories of other teens who have found trouble online.

Internet Rules that Parents Should Consider

It is recommended by experts that parents set up rules for their kids in regards to internet use. Here are some:

  • Know every password that your kid has and use those passwords to check on their accounts.
  • Don’t let kids use social media, text friends, or chat online until they are in 9th or 10th grade, and never let kids use apps or sites that allow for anonymous communication.
  • There is NO reason why your 13 year old needs to be head deep in Snapchat or TikTok. NONE. Nothing good will come from it.
  • Give your kids a time limit for internet use
  • Don’t allow your kids to respond to messages from strangers, and never “friend” strangers.
  • Never give out any personal information, such as address or phone number, online.
  • Always be respectful and kind to others online; bullying should NEVER be allowed.
  • Do not allow your children to know your passwords.
  • Do not allow kids to use have access to their devices at all times. Have family time with no screens. i.e. game night, a walk to the local park, etc.
  • No phones in the bedroom. Buy laptops, not desktops. Laptops shouldn’t be allowed in the bedroom after homework is done.
  • No photos should be posted to an internet site without permission of parents.
  • Always check text messages, chat logs, or any other communication online, and make sure that kids understand that there will be consequences if they delete the messages.
  • Don’t allow kids to download any apps or software without your permission.

Don’t Make These Mistakes

  • Don’t give your child a traditional smart phone before 9th You can give them a feature-phone, that you have full access to, however.
  • Don’t give your child internet access that is unmonitored.
  • Don’t allow your kids to use the internet in closed rooms or in areas where you can’t see what they are doing.
  • Don’t allow them to play online games where chat is enabled, as these are common targets for sexual predators.

Just because other families are breaking most of these rules, doesn’t mean your family needs to. Don’t be cattle or sheep. Lead by example.

ROBERT SICILIANO CSP, is a #1 Best Selling Amazon author, CEO of CreditParent.com, the architect of the CSI Protection certification; a Cyber Social and Identity Protection security awareness training program.

Young Kids Getting Sexually Exploited Online More Than Ever Before

An alarming new study is out, and if you are a parent, you should take note…children as young as 8-years old are being sexually exploited via social media. This is a definite downturn from past research, and it seems like one thing is to blame: live streaming.

Robert Siciliano Quora Breach

YouTube serves up videos of kids, in clothing, that pedophiles consume and share as if it is child porn. It’s gotten so bad that YouTube has had to disable the comments sections of videos with kids in them.

Apps like TikTok are very popular with younger kids, and they are also becoming more popular for the sexual predators who seek out those kids. These apps are difficult to moderate, and since it happens in real time, you have a situation that is almost perfectly set up for exploitation.

Last year, a survey found that approximately 57 percent of 12-year olds and 28% of 10-year olds are accessing live-streaming content. However, legally, the nature of much of this content should not be accessed by children under the age of 13. To make matters worse, about 25 percent of these children have seen something while watching a live stream that they and their parents regretted them seeing

Protecting Your Children

Any child can become a victim here, but as a parent, there are some things you can do to protect your kids. First, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you posting pictures or video of your children online? Do you allow your kids to do the same? A simple video of your child by the pool has become pedophile porn.
  • Do you have some type of protection in place for your kids when they go online?
  • Have you talked to your children about the dangers of sharing passwords or account information?
  • Do your kids understand what type of behavior is appropriate when online?
  • Do you personally know, or do your kids personally know, the people they interact with online?
  • Can your kids identify questions from others that might be red flags, such as “where do you live?” “What are your parents names?” “Where do you go to school?”
  • Do your kids feel safe coming to you to talk about things that make them feel uncomfortable?

It is also important that you, as a parent, look for red flags in your children’s behavior. Here are some of those signs:

  • Your kid gets angry if you don’t let them go online.
  • Your child become secretive about what they do online, such as hiding their phone when you walk into the room.
  • Your kid withdraws from friends or family to spend time online.

It might sound like the perfect solution is to “turn off the internet” at home, but remember, your kids can access the internet in other ways, including at school and at the homes of their friends. It would be great to build a wall around your kids to keep them safe, but that’s not practical, nor is it in their best interest. Instead, talk to your child about online safety and make sure the entire family understands the dangers that are out there.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video

How to Use your Mobile as a Child Locator

How many times have you read, or at least caught a headline, of the latest high profile missing child case? How many stories have we heard about the kid who got lost on a hike? His body was found several miles from where he’d been last seen, concluding a several-day search.

5WWhat if he had had an iPhone on his person at the time he wandered off in the middle of some vast woods? Sure he could call, but then what? Android and iPhones have a “find my phone” feature that a parent can track down a lost child with—provided that this feature is enabled.

  • At android.com/devicemanager log onto the Android Device Manager page. The parent must also know the password and name for the Google account that is associated with this tracking feature.
  • You’ll see Android hardware’s location, which is stored in the phone attached to the lost child, on a map.
  • Obviously, you must have your own mobile device on you to locate.
  • This feature works for older kids too, such as your young teen daughter on her first date. She’s 20 minutes past her curfew and she’s not answering her mobile. Time to locate her.
  • You can set up a restricted profile that blocks the teen’s access to the “settings” application, or, you can use a parental control app.
  • There are locator apps also compatible with the iOS phone too.

Do you have an elderly relative who’s not all there upstairs and prone to wandering off? Most phones are compatible with affordable ($6 to $15 a month) applications that can give you the location of your family member. Family locator apps are offered by T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon Wireless.

Locator apps also come with other features, not just the locator aspect. Some offer 911 and emergency features. This would be great for your elderly grandmother who forgets things or gets lost easily.

Robert Siciliano CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com, personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.

Prevent Child Identity Theft

Here’s one for the know-it-alls: Kids are 35 percent more likely to become victims of identity theft than are adults. Betcha didn’t know that! This startling news comes from a 2015 Javelin Strategy & Release study.

2DNeedless to say, the bulk of parents aren’t on top of this problem, unaware that thieves go after children’s SSNs like two-year-olds grabbing at candy. Thieves know that kids (and their parents) don’t monitor their credit reports. Thieves know that they can get away with their crime all throughout the victim’s childhood until they start applying for college, credit cards, etc., at age 18 or so. That’s a long time to get away with a crime.

Let’s talk about how to prevent child identity theft.

ID Theft Protection

  • Sign on with an ID theft protection company; many such companies protect the entire family including kids.
  • Get an ID theft protection service. This is not the same as antivirus software. For example, ID theft protection services will monitor your credit report. It will also alert you when an account is opened in your name.

Credit Freeze

  • Put a freeze on your kids’ credit reports; 19 states allow this for the three main credit reporting agencies. Equifax allows a freeze no matter what state you live in.
  • A frozen credit will prevent a crook from opening lines of credit in your child’s name.

Who needs your child’s Social Security number?

  • Put your children’s sensitive documents (birth certificate, SSN card, etc.) in a lockable safe and/or keep it hidden.
  • THINK, before you hand out your child’s SSN. Just because it’s requested doesn’t mean you must blindly give it up. Ask yourself: Why on earth do they need my child’s Social Security number? The gruff coach of your child’s new soccer team may be requesting the number. The child beauty pageant director may be asking for it. Don’t be intimidated.
  • Come on, really. WHY would a sports team, karate tournament entry form or any other child-centered activity need this information?
  • Minimize putting your child’s name and address “out there.” Even if you decide to get a magazine subscription for your tween, put your name on the subscription.
  • Meet with your child’s principal to keep your child’s information from getting out. Schools often share personal information of students with third parties.
  • It’s not cute that your five-year-old can rattle off her Social Security number. Kids don’t need to know this number. They need to know your phone number, how to dial 9-1-1 and their home address. But not their SSN. Geez, if they know their SSN, you just never know when they might leak it out to the wrong ears. When kids are in high school, they may need it, but still, be very cautious about when you decide it’s time to give them this information.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing identity theft prevention

Is your Daughter chatting with a Pedophile?

That’s a horrible question to ask. There is a very alarming report on nbcsandiego.com, about a dad who regularly checked on his kids in the middle of the night, and one night at 2 a.m., upon checking his 12-year-old daughter’s room, saw that she was gone. The window was open.

10DHe fled down the street where he saw her just about to get into an SUV, which turned out to be driven by a 27-year-old man the girl had met online a month prior. The predator’s name is Scott Stilwell, and he insisted to dad Tim LeBlanc that he was 16.

A fight ensued and LeBlanc knocked him out and held him until authorities arrived.

What can parents do?

  • Well, it’s fair to wonder why the girl didn’t consider what her dad would do (such as go through the roof with anger) upon discovering her absence—unless she had no idea he checked on her every night. So the first thing is to make sure your kids know that you do check up on them.
  • Lay down the rules about what’s off-limits online.
  • Let your kids know that they will not be shamed or judged if they report any kind of weird interactions online, though predators will typically behave properly to lure a child into meeting them, as did Stilwell when he promised the girl gifts.
  • Parental control/monitoring software will help parents keep their kids safe. The smartphone apps for this are best.
  • Use spyware to keep tabs on your kids (yes, this is legal from parent to child). Spyware will track the user’s online activities and is quite thorough, though it may be overkill if your child is a normal, typical child.
  • Before buying your child a computer or smartphone, lay out the big rule: You get to periodically check the device; you will meet new online friends; you will even have your child’s passwords. If your child already has a computer or phone, well, you’ll have to put some metal in your spine and mandate these stiffer rules.
  • Research shows that girls are more likely to traipse off with a charming predator when the relationship with their father is weak. The predator, in a way, comes off as a father figure. Though you may be checking on your kids in the middle of the night, make sure that your waking relationship with them is a healthy one.

 

Child Identity theft is becoming Solvable

You’ve seen TV commercials and print ads about identity theft, and the “victim” is always an adult. That’s not realistic. The actor-portrayal should be that of a child. Yes, a kid.

Children are 51 times more likely than adults to have their identity stolen, says research from Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab.

Crooks want kids’ Social Security numbers. And crooks like the fact that kids are debt-free. Wow, with no debt to the child’s name, the thief could easily open up a line of credit in that victim’s name and have a field day. Or, they can file a fraudulent income tax return.

The thief can then sit back and relax for many years because usually, the victim doesn’t learn something’s wrong until they’re 18 and applying for loans or a line of credit. By then, lots of damage has already been done.

Many thieves of children’s identity are family members. It’s easy for them to get their hands on the victim’s Social Security number and other data. Relatives coming and going in the victim’s house could make it too simple for someone to get ahold of private information if it’s not hidden and non-accessible.

How can we protect children’s identity from being stolen?

  • If you live in s state that offers a “credit freeze” then apply, right now. As of the writing: Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.
  • Consider opting out of providing schools with personal information about your child. This can be done due to FERPA: Family Educational Rights Privacy Act. FERPA gives parents the right to authorize how much of their child’s personal information they want shared with a third party.
  • If a school fails to alert parents to this on a yearly basis, the school is breaking the law.
  • The FERPA does not necessarily apply to extracurricular activities of the school. Parents should investigate these on an individual level to see how much private information might be shared. For instance, a child’s Social Security number absolutely does not have to be given just for them to be on a softball team, member of the band, chess club, this or that.
  • Identity theft protection on a family plan should be a consideration. Generally these services will watch for activity regarding your childs SSN and new lines of credit.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing identity theft prevention.

The Sweet Sixteen Rule

Your child is turning 16! As a parent in the US, your mind is occupied with planning the big sweet 16 party and preparing for a new driver on the road (and the crazy high insurance that goes with it). During this exciting time, there’s something else you should be thinking about—your child’s credit score.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-identity-theft-red-words-binary-code-computer-monitor-image39907813Child identity theft is more common than we want to think it is. According to a study by Identity Theft Assistance, 1 in every 40 households with minor children has been affected by child identity theft. Thieves love this kind of identity theft because 1) it gives them a clean slate because kids don’t have a credit history, and 2) it usually takes years before the crime is discovered—and it’s a lot of time to do some extensive damage. Many kids who have had their identities stolen don’t find out until they are adults trying to buy a car, apply for a college loan, or rent a place and they are denied due to low credit scores. At that point, it could take years to undo the damage and build a respectable credit score. No parent wants that for their child!

So when your child turns the big 16, start a new tradition and check to see if your child has a credit report. If your child does have a report, check to make sure there are not any mistakes on it and also check in why he or she would have a credit report (since most wouldn’t). You’ll not only save your child tons of headaches later on, but you’ll have a head start on clearing this up before it becomes a big mess.

But the best way to fix child identity theft is to prevent it in the first place. Here are a few tips to protect your child’s identity.

  • Keep your child’s information in a private, safe place. Don’t carry your child’s Social Security card or identity card around with you and make sure their birth certificate is in a safe place, like a locked file cabinet, safe or safety deposit box.
  • Only give out your child’s personal info when necessary. Be particular who you share your child’s Social Security number or identification number with, and when in doubt, leave it blank. The little league coordinator does NOT need to have this information, and even places that you may think may need it like your doctor’s office, you should check to be sure. Remember, once the information leaves your hands, it is out of your control.
  • Shred any sensitive documents before discarding. Rule of thumb: if it has an identification number  or any personal information on it, shred it.
  • Be alert to robberies and security breaches. If your home has been broken into, make sure all documents are accounted for.
  • Be careful what you and your child shares online. Make sure to teach your child the “rules of the road” for online safety and why sharing personal information online can be risky.
  • Invest in security software. Use software like McAfee’s LiveSafe™ service to protect your data and identity as well as your child’s on all your computers, smartphones and tablets.

For more information on protecting your identity, make sure to like McAfee’s Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked!  Disclosures.

Family Identity Theft is Ugly

Identity theft isn’t just the stuff of exciting movie and TV dramas; this happens in real life—and often. In fact, that Target breach that made headlines, Neiman Marcus, those 1. 2 Billion records the Russian cyber gang hacked: all identity theft.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-identity-theft-red-words-binary-code-computer-monitor-image39907813In 2012, according to one research firm, 12.6 million people in the U.S. alone were victims of ID fraud. This translates to this crime occurring every three seconds. If that isn’t bad enough, it’s estimated that one-third of ID theft is committed against the thieves’ own family members.

Sometimes a person learns this when requesting a copy of their credit report. Expecting to see a high score, they instead see pages and pages of fraudulent credit card activity—and a very damaged credit. The thief can even be the victim’s own mother. Or spouse. Or daughter, son, sister, brother.

As appalling as this is, it’s not the least bit unusual. It’s easy, for instance, for a parent to access their child’s name and Social Security number, then open up a phony account—even if the victim is literally a child. Most companies don’t check the ages, so that’s why this crime can go undetected for years.

The victim may not even learn of the crime until adulthood when they apply for their first credit card or student loan. Learning that the thief is a family member, particularly a parent, delivers a particularly hard blow, for obvious reasons. At least there’s no emotional impact when the thief is a stranger or even someone outside the family whom you know.

It can take quite some time to restore damaged credit. The Federal Trade Commission has an online guide that will help victims recover from the crime of identity theft.

Children can’t protect themselves, so adults need to do it for them. That often requires an investment of time and money.

Credit freezes or fraud alerts aren’t available to children until their identity is stolen.

Applying for a fraud alert every quarter to 6 months and being denied means no credit has been established.

Identity theft protection in many cases will help prevent child identity theft. However not all services offer this option. The good news is that child identity theft protection is generally less than $50.00 a year per child when the parent invests in a family plan.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing  identity theft prevention. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247. Disclosures.

Child Identities need more Legal Protection

Identity theft can involve children. In fact, it’s a growing problem. The thief takes a child’s Social Security number and either uses their name or assigns it to a different name and always changes the date of birth. So 2 year old Sally is now 22 and has a Benz. The thief then uses this new identity for job applications, loans or government benefits.

1DThe unique disaster is that child identity theft could persist for years before the parents or victim when older figure it out. This delay makes it harder to restore the victim’s good name. Tens of thousands of children are victims of identity theft every year across the U.S.

In Florida, it’s estimated that 50,000 child identity theft cases occur every year. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and state Sen. Nancy Detert have proposed legislation to help prevent victimization.

A bill (SB 242) will permit parents to freeze a child’s credit records until they’re old enough to use them: the Keeping IDs Safe (KIDS) Act.

A broad coalition of groups (e.g., bankers, law enforcement and children’s advocates) backs this legislation. This includes the Florida Police Chiefs Association, Children’s Home Society and school superintendents.

The KIDS Act may protect up to 10,000 Florida kids from identity theft every year.

How it works:

Parents of kids under 16 or who are guardians of disabled adults can request that a credit agency create the credit record; then freeze it until the child/adult can use it. A fee of up to $10 can be charged by the agencies.

Though adults have already been able to freeze their credit records, they need to realize that child identity theft is a real and growing problem, and that freezing their records is a very viable guard against this crime.

Meanwhile identity theft protection in many cases will help prevent child identity theft. However not all services offer this option. The good news is that child identity theft protection is generally less than $50.00 a year per child when the parent invests in a family plan.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing  identity theft prevention. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247. Disclosures.

Why Child Identity Theft is Dangerous

Identity theft in the form of new account fraud can happen to anyone with a Social Security number, which includes virtually any American with a pulse…as well as some who no longer do. Identity theft can even happen to your newborn baby shortly after a Social Security number has been issued to him or her and this could have long term implications for your child.

Within days of your child’s birth, you typically sign documentation prior to being released from the hospital, and a Social Security number is issued within a few weeks. That number is promptly distributed to many entities: the U.S. Social Security Administration, the hospital, your doctors’ offices, your insurance company, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)—and anyone who has access to the relevant documents or files can also gain access to a person’s identity.

There is a growing trend among identity thieves to steal the identities of children, especially infants because it is unlikely that your child or you as parent, will be checking their credit report, since they are too young to talk let alone have a credit card. Child identity theft occurs when the identity of someone under the age of 18 is compromised. When this occurs, the child’s Social Security number is used to open up new accounts. The new accounts opened could be anything from credit cards to bank loans to automobile loans.

Your child’s records represent a clean slate for the criminal and it usually takes years before the theft is discovered. Often, the first time victims discover that their identity was stolen is when they engage in their first financial transaction and try to establish credit by, for example, purchasing a cell phone or buying a car.

There have been far too many instances of parents receiving a call from a bill collector informing you that your two-year-old bought a Mercedes and defaulted on a loan. Or perhaps law enforcement may come knocking on your door to inquire about crimes committed by your newborn child. So besides damaged credit, you child could have income tax liability or a criminal record as the result of identity theft.

The best protection against child identity theft is comprehensive device security, like McAfee LiveSafe™ service, along with filing a fraud alert with the credit bureaus every quarter with the hope that you are denied, because a credit report doesn’t exist—means your child’s identity is still safe. As parents we need to be vigilant about protecting our own and our kids’ information.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked!  Disclosures.