Guest Post: Online Identity & Privacy Protection Tips For Children

By Ani Chaudhuri, CEO, Dasera

Beyond the usual guidelines, there are several innovative and layered approaches that parents might not have considered:

  • Digital Footprint Starts at Birth: Avoid sharing identifiable information about your child on public platforms. This includes full names, birth dates, and locations. A harmless birth announcement can offer malicious actors a starting point.
  • Rethink “Smart” Toys: Before purchasing, scrutinize the data handling practices of internet-connected toys. Many collect vast amounts of information, and not all have stringent security measures.
  • Understand School Data Handling: Engage with your child’s school to understand how they store, use, and protect student data. Often, educational platforms have data vulnerabilities or share information with third parties.
  • Voice-Activated Devices: Devices like Siri or Alexa constantly listen for activation cues. Ensure they aren’t inadvertently recording your child’s conversations or information.
  • Online Gaming: Even games designed for younger children can have chat features. Ensure these are disabled or monitored. Personal information can be unintentionally shared during seemingly innocent in-game conversations.

From the moment they are born. It may sound extreme, but children have a digital identity almost from birth in our current digital era. Whether it’s hospital records, pediatrician visits, or the first photo shared on social media, their digital footprint begins immediately. Each of these instances carries data – a golden ticket for identity thieves. Protecting a child’s ID isn’t just about preventing financial fraud; it’s about safeguarding their entire digital existence and future reputation.

Child ID and privacy isn’t just about what parents should do; it’s equally about the don’ts and nevers:

  • Never Use Their Name for Passwords: Using a child’s name or birthdate as a password for any online service is a glaring risk. It’s often the first thing hackers will try.
  • Don’t Overlook Data Breaches: Not all data breaches make headlines. Watch for breaches involving services your child uses and act accordingly.
  • Never Assume a Platform is Safe: Just because a platform is designed for children doesn’t mean it’s secure. Constantly scrutinize its data practices.
  • Don’t Underestimate Word of Mouth: Children learn much from their peers. Educate them about the basics of data privacy so they can be advocates among their friends.

Protecting a child’s ID and privacy in today’s world requires vigilance, continuous education, and proactive measures. It’s not just about today’s threats but also about preventing potential risks in the future. Parents must be the first line of defense, even if it means challenging the status quo of digital interaction.

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