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Your children are going to be on the internet. Sadly, so are the scam artists. And non-savvy internet users can be easy marks for online scams. So how do you keep your kids safe on the internet?
By teaching them what online behavior to avoid and what to watch out for. Here are some of our top tips for preventing scammers from targeting and taking advantage of your children.
Scam artists know where to look for and how to prey on kids and teenagers online. So teach your children to avoid certain websites and chat forums, what kind of links should never be clicked, and what apps should and shouldn't be downloaded. They should never share personal information, especially their age, with strangers or anyone they only met online.
Most (but sadly, not all) adults can spot a scam when they see one. But not all scams are packaged in pop-up ads and misspelled emails from Nigerian royalty. Make sure your children are told to beware anything offering something for free or asking for money up front.
As long as sexting is a thing, sextortion will be, too. Warn your kids to never share explicit photos of themselves online, in text messages, or any other chat applications. Those photos could be used to extort money, or more pics. And receiving sexts can also be a crime, if they are getting them from someone under age.
Your child might think they're doing a good thing and fixing your computer. Next thing you know, it's infected with malware. Often time, virus alerts are actually a ploy to get you to download the virus yourself. Have your computers serviced by a professional, and advise your kids to avoid DIY fixes.
And if your children are old enough to get summer jobs, now they need to watch out for a whole new scam that attempts to gather personal information from unsuspecting job seekers via a fake interview process. Stay away from out-of-the-blue job offers and interviews conducted over an online messenger service or software you need to download. And never pay an "interview fee."
Your children may never be 100 percent safe online, but teaching them what to do, what not to do, and what to watch out for is a big step in the right direction.