In today's digital age, children are growing up surrounded by technology and the internet. The internet can be a wonderful place for kids to learn, explore, and connect with others. And transacting online is now almost as common (sometimes more popular) as going to the shops.
But this also exposes them to potential dangers, especially when transacting online. As parents, it is our responsibility to ensure our kids are safe while using the internet.
Here's a look at some of the common risks kids could face while transacting online and how parents can help keep their kids safe while using the internet.
Tips to Ensure Safe Online Transactions for Kids
Set Clear Boundaries
Establish clear guidelines for internet usage and screen time limits. Set specific rules regarding which websites they can visit, what information they can share, and appropriate online activities. Regularly review and adjust these boundaries as your child grows and gains more experience online.
Teach your kids to transact only on trusted devices and networks
One of the easiest ways to protect your kids from the dangers of the internet is to ensure they only use a trusted phone, tablet or computer. Advise them never to use their card details on someone else's device, even if it's a close friend.
Similarly, they should avoid using unfamiliar or unsecured networks like public Wi-Fi. These networks are unsafe for sensitive information such as banking transactions or personal details.
Staying on familiar ground, such as using their own device on your home Wi-Fi network, will help keep them safe from threats like hacking or identity theft.
Encourage your kids to create strong passwords that are not easy to guess
Most platforms and websites require logging in and sharing some personal information online. So it's essential to ensure that our kids are not making it easy for hackers and cybercriminals to access their accounts by using weak or easily guessable passwords. A good password will help protect their online identity and keep them safe from potential threats.
Caution them about sharing personal information
Kids may not fully comprehend the risk of sharing their personal information online. Teach them never to share personal details such as their full name, date of birth, address and phone number or banking details such as their PIN or bank app passwords. If they're unsure, ask them to check with you.
Teach them never to save their card information on a website or app
Websites and apps will often ask if your kids want to save their card details. While this is convenient and saves your kids the hassle of entering this information every time they transact online, it's also potentially dangerous.
Educate your kids about common online threats and how to avoid them
Phishing scams have become increasingly prevalent in our digital world, with scammers using deceptive tactics like using a familiar name or email id or enticing you to click a link to trick people into revealing their personal information. Kids are often vulnerable targets.
Talk to your kids about the dangers of phishing and help them learn to identify and avoid these scams. Help them understand the warning signs and guide them on how to respond if they encounter such situations. Encourage them to inform a trusted adult immediately if they feel uncomfortable or threatened online.
Teach them to transact only on secure websites with HTTPS encryption
Ensure that the websites your kids transact on are safe by checking that they have HTTPS encryption. You can tell by looking at the URL (the website address will begin with https:// and have a padlock symbol in front of it). This means the website is encrypted to protect sensitive information.
If they are unsure about a site, game or product - teach them to ask you or a responsible adult if it is safe and trusted.
Avoid clicking on suspicious links or pop-ups
Train your kid to spot suspicious links or pop-ups and avoid clicking on them. Shopping and gaming websites are notorious for these. These seemingly harmless clicks can lead to malicious websites or infect your device with viruses.
Teach your kid the importance of reviewing their transactions
It's important to teach kids the importance of reviewing their transactions carefully before confirming them. In today's fast-paced digital world, it's so easy to make purchases with just a few clicks. But without careful review, mistakes can happen, and money is wasted. By instilling this habit early on, you can help your child become more responsible with their finances and avoid unnecessary losses in the future.
Talk often and communicate openly
Establish an open and honest line of communication with your children regarding their online activities. Encourage them to share their experiences, concerns, and potential issues. This way, you can address problems early on and provide guidance.
As the internet becomes increasingly integrated into our lives, and with more and more transactions taking place online, it's crucial that kids understand how to protect themselves from potential risks. Take the time to educate them on best practices for staying secure. With the right knowledge, tools and guidance at their disposal, they'll be well-equipped to navigate online transactions safely and with confidence.