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Make your child’s online safety a priority

Little Teenage Girl Using Tablet Computer, Small Kid Happy Smiling ChildAre your children and teenagers Internet-savvy? While the Internet can be a force for good, trouble can lurk online in places you might not consider. That’s why we wanted to share with you some important safety tips from the Internal Revenue Service for teaching your children and teenagers to stay safe while they are online.

Tell them why security is important. People of all ages should not reveal too much information about themselves. Keeping personal information and data secure and only providing information that is necessary minimizes online exposure to scammers and criminals. Birthdates, addresses, ages and especially Social Security numbers are among things that should not be shared freely — on or off line. Explain to your children what could happen if someone gains access to their personal information.

Help them to recognize and avoid scams. Teach your children how to spot when emails, phone calls and texts are really from criminals trying to gain access to personal information. Have them review this information from the Federal Trade Commission. Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails.

Help them to protect their personal data. Advise children and teens to shop at reputable online retailers and not to share online accounts or passwords. Teach them to treat personal information like cash; don’t leave it lying around.

Teach them about public Wi-Fi networks. Connection to Wi-Fi in a mall or coffee shop is convenient but it may not be safe. Hackers and cybercriminals can easily intercept personal information. Access any private and financial accounts at home and/or use a virtual private network when connecting to public Wi-Fi.

Always use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections. Make sure all of your family’s electronics have security software. Make sure the security software is always turned on and can automatically update. Make sure every member of your family knows to use strong, unique passwords for each account. Be sure all family members have comprehensive protection especially if devices are being shared.