(This is a reprint from my Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com)
Cheryl Cobbin is an identity theft prevention specialist with LegalShield in the Sacramento region, who encourages parents to think about the many ways in which personal data is shared and stored in electronic databases or in social media platforms, and then consider the importance of having access to experts if your personal data gets into the wrong hands. “There are so many ways that people wind up giving personal information through social media,” she said. “A parent sharing a proud moment by posting a picture of their teen with their driver’s license is one good example.”
According to Cobbin, we share personal data for a lot of good reasons, such as medical records, school records, DMV, etc. and the internet technology makes it easy to capture and sell the data on the dark web. “Credit cards comprise only 17% of i.d. theft. Medical records is a huge target,” she said. “Kids under 18 are the most desired i.d. theft targets because their credit scores are better.” The other concern about identity theft is that bad actors can take pictures and pieces of information to harm or exploit. “In some cases a child’s image gleaned from social media can be sued to promote child porn,” she said. Cobbin offers these three things that parents need to train their tech-savvy kids to help prevent identity theft.
- First, educate your child to not share their personal information without involving you, the parent who is the guardian. If someone wants them to complete a form with personal information including name, address, sex and age, then instruct them to involve you. That way you can train your child to think strategically about whether it is necessary to give all the data in the first place. For example, if your child wants to register with a consumer club or purchase something, train them to come to you and have a conversation about who is collecting the data and what information is actually necessary to submit.
- Secondly, train yourself and your child to only post pictures and information on social media sites that reveal very little about your identity, where you live, and where you go to school. Do not include snaps with official documents.
- Finally, be mindful that thieves still rely upon the old fashioned method by stealing records found in your car and wallets so be careful not to leave your car unlocked or your wallet or purse unattended. “40% of i.d. theft is committed by a friend or family member,” Cobbin said. This is especially good advice for young adults in college environments where shared living space is also the social place, and friends of friends have easy access to your personal belongings.
To learn more about teaching your tech-savvy tween or teen about being cyber-safe with their personal data, you may contact Cheryl Cobbin at LegalShield.
ABOUT: Banana Moments Foundation is a non-profit education center founded in Roseville, CA to strengthen the parent-child bond in a hyper-connected world. The BMF mission is to restore families with the mustard seed of faith that declares liberty already belongs to the soul because one God, the Creator of all humanity, grants every human being intelligence and free will to choose what to believe, and that is power that can never be taken, but is easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device. To that end, ten percent of all BMF proceeds are donated to prison ministries. Your Donations are greatly appreciated.
As the Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner, my personal mission is to educate and inspire parents from all walks of life and social settings to realize their inherent authority to govern the home and educate the child about their own power; the personal power that comes from the spiritual resilience of your chosen faith. And so I write for Examiner.com to express the passion of my mother heart to a diverse audience.
Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her new book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.