How to Talk to Your Kids About Online Scams – and Keep Them Safe

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Talk to your kids about practicing good digital habits. (Photo: Getty)

In addition to remote school, texting, gaming and using multiple devices, going online is an inevitable part of life for most children and teens. Unfortunately, some people take advantage of children’s natural curiosity to trick them into online scams. So how does the modern parent talk to their kids about phishing scams and how can your kids tell if someone is trying to scam online? Here are some expert tips to keep your kids safe:

Talking about online scams

“It’s never too early to start conversations about practicing good cyber hygiene with your children,” Eva Velasquez, president and chief executive officer of the Source for identity theft Center, tells Yahoo Life. “For younger children, use short learning moments, monitor their activity, and model the online behavior you want to see.”

For older kids, talk to them about common scams and why they shouldn’t reply to messages asking for personal information, such as passwords. Also, talk to them about the importance of privacy settings. The Federal Trade Commission suggests enabling privacy settings on apps and social media.

Another solution: Malwarebytes Premium Multiple DevicesThe, which proactively protects you from accessing malicious websites, online scams, and phishing attacks designed to steal your sensitive information, such as login credentials and credit card numbers.

Buy it: Malwarebytes Premium Multi-Device, 30-day free trial, then $4.99 per month, subscriptions.yahoo.com

Talk to your child about ways to counter phishing attempts.  (Photo: Getty)

Talk to your child about ways to counter phishing attempts. (Photo: Getty)

Model the behavior

Modeling good behavior is one of the best ways children learn. “We teach kids to cross the street by showing them to us, modeling our behavior and telling them we’re always waiting for the light, looking both ways, etc.” says Velasquez. “The same principle applies to teaching children about online safety and how to prevent personal information from being shared online.”

If you receive a phishing email, Velasquez recommends talking about it with your child in an age-appropriate manner. This way, they learn first-hand how to tell if someone is trying to scam you online.

“For example, if you receive a phishing email, you can share that story with your child,” says Velasquez, who suggests saying something like, “’I received an email from someone who was trying to steal information from me. get what they should’. I didn’t respond.'”

Buy it: Malwarebytes Premium Multi-Device, 30-day free trial, then $4.99 per month, subscriptions.yahoo.com

Set clear expectations about what online behavior requires adult supervision (Picture: Getty)

Set clear expectations about what online behavior requires adult supervision (Picture: Getty)

Set clear expectations

Both younger and even older children appreciate having clear boundaries. That’s why it’s important to talk to your kids about your expectations when it comes to being online, especially when it comes to potentially sharing personal information.

You may have a rule that your tween has to share an email account with you until he reaches a certain age, or your child has to ask permission before downloading games online. Or maybe all online purchases should be handled by you, rather than allowing your teen to use your credit card.

Velasquez explains that it’s also important to have an open conversation about what your kids can watch privately on the web and what content and downloads require adult supervision.

“For older kids who have more autonomy in using their devices and accounts, we recommend having a conversation about what the expectations are and what is allowed,” Velasquez says. Hold a family gathering to come up with rules agreed upon as a family — then write them down.

“Document the conversation by writing it down and putting it in a place where the family can see it as a reminder of what was agreed upon,” suggests Velasquez. “There are great resources if you’re looking for more details on how to structure it. Thesmarttalk.org is a great free tool to help parents get started, and it was developed in conjunction with the National PTA.”

Buy it: Malwarebytes Premium Multi-Device, 30-day free trial, then $4.99 per month, subscriptions.yahoo.com

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