The family is the most important unit of society. As part of our social responsibility and promoting the family unit, earlier this week, we were at the Society and Technology (SOCTECH) Conference and Exhibition in Lagos organized by the Institute for Work and Family Integration (IWFI). The Conference with the theme ‘The Digital Age: Corporate Success and the Family’, was targeted at Company’s Decision makers, Managers, Human Resources personnel and Business owners.
Anurika Azubuike, Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications at Terragon Group gave a key note address on ‘Protecting the Family from Potential dangers online.’ Here, we will be sharing with you excerpts from that address and presentation.
The internet is a virtual treasure trove of information and has become one of the most important sources of knowledge and power. With the internet, communication is instant and much cheaper. Transactions and businesses are done on-the-go across borders. The internet bridges the divide on location, time zones, language and age. The Benefits of the Internet is exhaustive.
Because technology is involved in everything we do, wherever we go, and connected in almost every part of our lives, children, these days, are growing up in a virtual world that simply didn’t exist when their parents were growing up. Growing up in a mobile digital world, children and teenagers can easily access the internet, play video games and have increased exposure to media.
As with everything positive, there is always a dark side. The internet as beneficial as it is is prone to dangers. Common dangers include cyberbullying, online predators, financial scams, identity theft and exposure to inappropriate content.
The Role of Parents
Just as children are prepared for life in the real world, parents and guardians should prepare them for life in the online world. A great starting point is to understand how the internet can be misused. This will guide in the teaching so children who are by nature very impressionable understand that not everything is as it seems and not everyone has good intentions.
It is important for parents to stay ahead of technology trends and establish open communication with their children so they can start discussing online safety at an early age. The use of online search protection tools such as Google Safe Search, Internet filters or blocking software, should be prioritized. Young children should also be restricted from getting on social media until they are old enough and when they do, the privacy settings should be set to the strictest level.
Preventing Identity theft and Financial fraud
Identity thieves online have various tricks to stealing one’s personal information and using it without one’s permission. They are able to commit fraud amongst other things which can ruin one’s reputation and finance when they have access to one’s personal information – name, address, birth date, credit, and debit card details, amongst other identifying data. It is important to restrict the information they can access to protect and secure you and your family from their reach. This is the single most important way not to become a victim of Identity theft.
Some of the common tactics internet thieves employ include sending suspicious email, instant message or webpage asking for your personal or financial details which can include passwords, pins, amongst others, using details of someone familiar. They can also request that you urgently receive or send them money to another country. The most popular one is cloned web links which are designed to steal one’s information.
Once you are a victim, there are important steps to take. The first step is to contact the company (financial institutions, etc) to inform them of what has happened, change logins, passwords, pins and close the account. Look out for debt incurred or payments made you had no idea about or cannot explain and work with the company to reverse fraudulent charges to your account. It is important to file a report with your local police; provide as much evidence as you can, and list all fraudulently accessed activities on your account that you know about on the police report.
Online Security Practices
There are a number of important online security practices that everyone should know about. They are:
1. Choose a good strong password for your online accounts that cannot be easily guessed
2. Protect your device with multiple security products and ensure they are updated to protect against security vulnerabilities. This ensures one’s data is safe as it travels the internet.
3. Personal information should not be sent as an email, via instant message or on the phone unless you’ve initiated the contact or are sure you know who you’re dealing with because it is easy for a third party to have access to it limit the information you and family post online and restrict access to it.
4. Don’t open files, download programs, click links from unknown senders asking for your personal or financial information.
5. Pay close attention when asked to sign in online. You should also check to see if the web address begins with https:// – which signals that your connection to the website is encrypted and more resistant to snooping or tampering
6. Make online purchase with one credit card so it’s easy to monitor your statement of accounts
7. Do not save important information like passwords, pins amongst others on your device
8. Before giving out an old device – computer, phone – ensure that it is wiped and restored to factory settings
9. Do not install unknown or unsolicited apps
10. Have a backup of important files you do not want to lose