Safeguard your family to keep your personal information, personal

Parents in Jersey are being urged to follow practical steps to safeguard their children from risk of exposing personal information on social media, which could easily identify them.

The Jersey Office of the Information Commissioner (JOIC) has issued the privacy advice as part of European Cyber Security Month, which is taking place throughout October.

Deputy Commissioner Paul Vane said: “Social media has dramatically changed the way young people interact with friends and family but those in a position of care for children, as well as children themselves, must be aware of the privacy risks when setting up accounts and posting images of themselves, to these applications.
Many social media platforms request name, date of birth, hometown, location and even school name. When such information is posted online it is no longer private and could leave the child vulnerable.”

JOIC has issued the following tips for parents:

● Know that private may not be private. With more websites and applications collecting information, make sure your family knows the value of online privacy. Check privacy settings on your child’s device. We recommend all personal information is hidden and made private. Make shared decisions about the platforms and privacy settings your child uses.

● Guard your child’s location. Go into the settings menu on your child’s device and disable location services. This can be done just for specific apps while still allowing maps and other useful tools to access location data.

● Remind your child to keep passwords and log-in details private and not share them with friends. Remind them to log out after using public computers.

● Ensure your child does not share personal information such as phone numbers and date of birth with people they don’t know personally.

● Remind children why their identity is important. A child’s identity can have as much value as an adult’s identity, if not more.

● Realise cybersecurity is a moving target. That means you need to be mindful about downloading the latest security updates and patches. Stay current and follow the news for any breaking threats.

● Do not share more information than necessary. It's important for children and family members to know how much information is too much information. In their excitement to share their milestones, children and parents all too often post their personal information online.

● Go private on public Wi-Fi. Stress the importance of avoiding public Wi-Fi networks. Children may not think about hackers and cybercriminals when they connect to public Wi-Fi. Always use a virtual private network (VPN) when connecting to public Wi-Fi.

● Sit down, educate and talk to your child about how best you can secure their information.