How Families Can Be Identity Smart

Five quick tips to help you teach your children about identity management

April 11th is Identity Management Day, a day to raise awareness about the dangers improperly managing and securing digital identities. Much of the day’s focus is typically on business – and with good reason – we know that credential theft is a leading cause of enterprise data breaches. But there’s another place where good identity management practices are pretty important: at home.

According to Pew research, 67% of children regularly use tablets and 60% use smartphones, with most kids getting their first device between the ages of 6 and 9. These devices can help kids learn, have fun and communicate with friends. But they also, of course, come with risks, and the best way to manage those risks is to instil good digital habits from an early age.  So, if you’re looking to give your kids some healthy identity advice, here are 5 quick tips.

1: Establishing a digital zone of trust

It is important to establish an ongoing conversation with your children about the tech they use, so as they get older, they still come to you in case of questions or problems that may arise online. For example, if they need to review permissions when installing a new app, if they want to create a new social media account, or if they’re getting messages from strangers whilst gaming online. This will help you not only teach the right attitudes on the issue of digital privacy, but will also help you keep your personal data secure.

2: Set a good example

This goes not only for things like limiting your own phone usage or enforcing phoneless dinners or bedtimes, but also for being attentive to how you behave online. Avoid social media oversharing, remove geotags from photos and make sure that no confidential information gets into the frame of a picture.

3: Teach your kids about phishing early

Teach your kids not to trust any links or attachments received by email, to always double check the sender’s name and email address before opening anything and to be extremely wary of online offers that request personal data – even emails, birth dates and phone numbers. Also teach them that a safe website should have an https prefix and a little locked padlock icon beside the address.

4: Help them with passwords and 2FA

Remind your kids to use a unique password for every account they set up. If they reuse the same password for everything and it gets compromised, then all the accounts they use it for go along with it. Also have them set up 2-factor authentication for any sites they use that offer it.

5: Сall on technology to help

With the whole family continuously accumulating online data and accounts, consumer security services can help protect everything. Password managers, for example, can help make the previous tip a little easier. Consumer antivirus solutions, meanwhile, now often let you keep an eye on all the family devices under a single account. They also tend to offer a wide variety of other security and privacy tools, such as parental controls, which can allow you to filter the content your child can access online.

According to a recent Kaspersky study, more than half of the parents are already trying to cultivate healthy digital habits in their families. With the help of awareness events like Identity Management Day, we can all work to push that number even higher.