July 17, 2017 – ERIE, Pa – It’s the place where it seems like you know everyone and everyone is your friend.
Adults, for the most part, know how to protect themselves, but it’s even more important that your kids know how, too.
Heather Wagenhals is an Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist with decades of experience.
She says as technology advances, kids are starting to use social media earlier and earlier. She explains it as being part of the fabric of how they exist… and that is making parenting more challenging than ever.
Many parents may not even realize it, but children often begin connecting with strangers through multi-player online gaming systems well before they’re into social media. While the fear of sexual predators is the most common worry from parents, Heather says it’s actually not the greatest concern.
She says parents must worry about their personal finances.
People are scammed online all the time. If your children have access to your credit cards or banking information, they may mistakenly pass it along to the wrong person.
“Nobody is as they seem on the internet,” says Heather, “That’s the beauty of the anonymity of the internet. Somebody who could be posing as one of their friends could just be spoofing their profile and could be stalking your child. So you really have to create that. And social media is the biggest, most dangerous place, if you will, because there’s this perceived sense of community and that you already know the people that you’re chatting with.”
Heather says creating an internet safety plan with your children is the key to all around internet safety.
To do this, you must first:
Identify what social media outlets are popular with your children.
Create and discuss a plan together.
Make sure you are their “friend” on all social media outlets
You also must have access to their username and password
Make sure your children commit to the plan.
Another big question many parents are asking is, how much time should you allow your child to spend on their phones or the internet?
Heather says it all depends on what’s best for your child. As long as they are living a physically active and healthy lifestyle and spend time interacting with others face to face, that an hour, or even two, per day online is acceptable.
For the latest information on protecting your kids on the internet, as well as yourself, and any other new tips and tricks for identity theft, frauds, and scams, visit Heathers website: