With many children spending more time on digital devices than usual, having recently broken up for school holidays, it is important to ensure their online accounts are secure.
As a parent, you can help your child keep their accounts and data safe by discussing these issues with them and giving them advice on online security.
To prevent an account or game being hacked, it is important to use a strong, secure password and to keep it private. We have some useful tips about creating strong passwords, on Net Aware – our joint website with O2, which offers advice on how children can stay safe online.
Young people might be tempted to share a password as an act of friendship, or a way to show they trust someone. But it is important that they are aware of why this isn’t a good idea and know that shared passwords can be misused, so it is best to keep them private.
Make kids aware of phishing
It is also good for children to be aware of “phishing” – when someone tries to trick them into giving personal information, such as a password. For example, it is common to see “free in-game currency” mentioned in YouTube videos and social media posts.
Remind your child they should never share their passwords and account details with anyone else – whatever is being offered in return
Often these are scams where a link is shared, the user inputs their username and password to get the free currency and then nothing happens, except an unknown person has their account details.
It is important that children know they should never click links from emails or messages that ask them to log in or share their details, even if they think they might be genuine. If they are asked to log into a website, they should go to the app or site directly instead.
Remind your child they should never share their passwords and account details with anyone else – whatever is being offered in return – and to let you know if they are asked for them.
As well as using passwords, many online services have the option to set up two-factor authentication (2FA), and some online services insist on it. This adds another layer of security to your password by asking for another piece of information when logging in, such as entering a code sent via text message. Many apps and sites allow use of 2FA, and it is best to use this option whenever possible.
Jamie Murray is a Childline supervisor in Aberdeen