Sunday, August 31, 2014

TELUS WISE: Ten Tips for Back-To-School Online Safety #BTS

How much do you know about what your kids are doing online? Are you tech savvy enough to even be able to keep up with them and the wave of new apps and social sites that are constantly appearing? This is a big worry for a lot of parents, as stories of cyber-bullying, internet luring and other horrible aspects of the online world seem to be more and more common occurrences.

stack of cell phones
image from
TELUS recently conducted a survey of Canadian parents and found that 71 per cent of parents purchased their child’s first mobile device before the age of 14 and 5 per cent of parents bought their child a mobile device before the age of eight. (Boo had his first iPod when he was 7, but he's only online with it when he has wi-fi and is with us.) Offline safety is a key motivator for purchasing these devices, allowing for parents to easily contact their kids, or the kids to call for help in an emergency. But parents are aware of the issues these devices can create for online safety. 64 per cent of parents surveyed are concerned about the visibility of personal information, 50 per cent are concerned about privacy and 42 per cent of all parents surveyed reported that cyberbullying is a top concern when it comes to their child’s safe use of mobile devices

Online security is becoming increasingly important. From hackers and cyberbullies to predators and phishers, the online world can be a scary place if you’re not armed with the right information. As your kids head back to school, here are some tips from TELUS and TELUS WISE to keep in mind so you and your family can keep yourselves safer online:

TELUS WISE: Ten Tips for Back-To-School Online Safety

  1. Review the permissions before giving permission. Apps and social sites often ask for access to personal information that could put you at risk. Set rules around what info you and your kids will share and with whom.
  2. Keep it private. It is vital to constantly check and adjust privacy settings within apps and social sites to keep up with ever-changing defaults. Looks for app settings that share information publicly and change it to close friends only.
  3. Set-up a 24/7 watchdog for your name. Create a Google alert for yourself and each of your family members to track how your names are being used online and where you’re being mentioned. Find out more on our TELUS WISE site.
  4. Less is more. Limit the amount of potentially sensitive information posted online to lower chances of theft or abuse – think twice before posting last names, age, school names, vacation location or other personal info.
  5. Keep connections personal. A good rule of thumb is to only connect and share with people that you know in real life. “Friending” people online whom you've never met increases your risk of exploitation.
  6. Think before you click. Always read the full path of the URL link you are about to click to make sure it’s going to take you where you want to go.
  7. Don’t be found. Turn off geo-tagging on smartphones and tablets to keep from being tracked. When this feature is enabled, your exact location can be exposed even if you’re just posting a photo. Ensure that apps that rely on location (e.g., Google Maps) are the only ones that have location enabled.
  8. Lock it down. Set passwords that are at least six characters long. Use at least one symbol, number and uppercase letter; for extra security use different passwords for each website or account you use.
  9. Don’t log in and leave it. Always be sure to log out of social accounts and apps when you aren't using them. Disable or deactivate accounts and apps you no longer use.
  10. Keep your digital household clean. Set a recurring 3-month calendar appointment to check your online profiles, confirm privacy and permission settings on the social media sites you subscribe to and review any apps that you've downloaded.
Looking for more information on Internet safety for your family? You can get free TELUS WISE Internet Safety and Security seminars in person by emailing or by popping into a local TELUS store.

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