Do you have kids off at college? It can be an overwhelming time of life for parents and students. You have done what you can to give them great life experiences, you’ve worried about them and worked hard to keep them safe. As they head off to college it can feel as though their safety is out of your hands.
When it comes to their cyber safety, that doesn’t have to be the case. You can prepare them for this stage of life by empowering them with knowledge about how to stay digitally safe while at college.
Below, are some important tips to review with your kids.
Let’s be honest about passwords. Most of us are lacking when it comes to our password security. Too many people reuse old passwords or have simple passwords because complex passwords are difficult to remember. Cybercriminals count on this, as it makes it easier to access our private information.
College-bound teens may not see password security as being important since they may feel that a data breach or identity theft is unlikely to happen to them. Stress to your kids that if they use the same password, an attacker who steals that password could access all of the accounts that use it — compromising their most personal and private information.
Encourage them to use different passwords for different sites and apps and make sure they are strong. It can be difficult to remember all those passwords, so encourage your kids to install and use a password manager app on their devices. This tool remembers the passwords for all the sites they use so they don’t have to.
There are plenty of password manager apps that you can get for your devices. They tend to be affordable and easy to use. Best of all, they make it easy to remember even the most complex password.
A password manager is also included in the comprehensive identity theft solution from IdentityForce, a TransUnion brand and partner of FamilySecurityToday.com.
Passphrases are another great way to simplify passwords while still ensuring security. Passphrases are words strung together to create a series of words you will easily remember. Something as simple as "immakingpasswordseasier2022!” can be easier to remember than a random series of letters, numbers and symbols.
Safe Ways to Send Money
Inevitably, expenses are going to pop up while your child is away at school. Ensuring you have a safe way to send money is important since sending money can be potentially risky if not done in a secure manner. Even E-transfers can be vulnerable to fraud. A third party might hack into your child’s email account, intercept an e-transfer and, by correctly guessing the password, deposit the money to their own account.
Fortunately, there are some relatively simple but effective options you can use. One consideration is adding your name to your child’s bank account. This will allow you to easily transfer money between your account and theirs without transaction fees.
There is also the option of using various digital wallet services to transfer money. Two of the most popular include Zelle and Venmo. They make it fast and easy to sign up for an account, get a bank account connected and transfer money among friends and family.
Exploring the options available will help you find the solution that best fits your family’s needs.
Store Documents Safely
Something else to stress is the need to keep their important documents safe. Parents should keep originals of most identity documents at home and send their kids with copies. Examples of the identity documents they might need include:
- Social Security card
- Medical and immunization records
- Insurance cards
- Official school documents
- Birth certificate
Stress to your kids that these important documents should be stored away safely, securely and in an organized manner. This can be done in a few different ways.
A fireproof safe is a good option for storing printed documents. It’s portable, fairly inexpensive and can give you peace of mind.
Another option is to save digital copies in secure cloud storage. You could use popular solutions like Dropbox or Google Drive, or the Identity Vault that’s included with IdentityForce’s solution.
Sending Teens to College Safely
While parents may feel nervous for their child’s safety and security, sending them to college should also be an exciting time. The key is preparing them for this new adventure so they can take care of themselves.
These tips should give you and your college-bound student a great starting point for ensuring their safety and security as they venture out on their new path.