5 easy tech tasks to help keep your parents safer online
In the age of technology, online security is just as important as physical security (if not more so, in some cases). While safe internet practices may be completely natural to those of us who have grown up with the technology, people like our parents may not be as security-savvy. Here are a few easy things you can do to help keep your parents safer online.
A better password
We’re used to the drill by now: three numbers, four punctuation marks, and eleven alien symbols are must-haves for creating a new password. But not everyone has the system down pat. Help your parents make a stronger password, one that’s hopefully not too closely tied to a birthday or address that a stranger would easily be able to guess. (Maybe let them hold off on the alien symbols for now.)
Speaking of passwords…
Once they have their new passwords, where should they keep them? Some experts, surprisingly, warn against apps or sites that track your passwords for you, and advise instead that you write your passwords (whether in a notebook or somewhere else) in a sort of code so that others can’t decipher them. However, they want to do it, help your parents track their new passwords in a secure way.
With the huge data breach at Equifax in 2017, it’s safe practice to freeze your credit reports. You can help your parents freeze theirs, too, which in turn makes it harder for thieves to steal the information and open up new accounts. Plus, it’s super easy to lift a freeze if you want to apply for more credit later.
Online account access
Having access to all your financial accounts online may be second-nature to you, but it’s probably not for your parents. Help them set up online access, whether through a computer or through an app — this makes it a lot easier to check on account activity in general, so it’s a lot easier to check for fraudulent activity, too.
Yet another thing that may come naturally to you but not to everyone. If your parents have social media accounts, help them check to make sure that their account isn’t public, so that strangers can’t steal their information from what they can gather on a profile page. It may seem like a simple step, but it can go a long way in making sure your parents are safer online.