Children and Digital Safety + Privacy

Children and Digital Safety + Privacy

Digital transformation is changing experiences in fundamental ways. New services are generating and utilising a significant amount of data. As customers use new services and experiences, there are fundamental steps they can take to ensure their information and data is safe.

How to create a Family Account

  • Each of us has multiple digital devices. We purchase applications, services and store information on these devices.
  • The usage of these devices is very different for each family member. Some may be focused on productivity, learning or entertainment. Setting up screen time and managing these devices may seem tedious but it is very crucial.
  • As far as possible one wants to simplify and control the purchasing of services, managing access and ensure viable safety.

The three major platform provide varying levels of family account features.

For Android

Google's approach is to allow families to share various services, storage and apps via their Google One plan in addition to subscriptions for Youtube etc.

They specifically offer the Family Link app for parents which has provisions for restricting or applying timelimits to various apps. One can also locate children devices via this app.

To know more about Google Family, please click here

For Information about Family Link, please click here

For Windows Users

Windows 10 users now need to connect their id to a Microsoft account. It could be in the form of an outlook.com or related account.

You can provide access and provision services to other members in the account by simply creating a family in your microsoft account.

To know more about Microsoft Family Accounts, please click here

For Mac or iPhone or iPad

It is fairly easy to setup Family Sharing on the phone. It provides for families to share app purchases, storage, location information, music and more. It is fairly similar but because they have an integrated phone and computer experience, they provide apps for Find My, Screen Time and more to manage these shared resources.

To know more about Apple Family Sharing, please click here

Setup Family Sharing

Using a Password Manager

Every service we use requires a username and a password. It is difficult to remember complex passwords, their related account security information. Further it is advisable to not use re-use passwords.

Using a password manager helps in the following:

  • Creates randomly generated passwords of the length you want
  • Saves user name and passwords
  • You have to remember essentially the password to this service

It is available as as app on your computer, mobile or tablet. Further most good services offer the option of Family Accounts so that you each member has their one independent set of login information with also the provision of some vital shared logins.

Built-in Password Manager options include:

Specialist Password Managers options:

Using Multi-Factor Authentication - Securing Accounts

To have a good strong password is the starting point for each service. It is equally important to secure the account with additional protection called the 2 Factor / Multi Factor Authentication. You need to ensure that 2 Factor Authentication is activated for every single service you have signed up. It could be streaming services, games, social networks, productivity services and even utilities.

Some services offer 2 factor authentication simply via sms which may seem convenience but is not all that secure. So it is best that you use software app based authentication or hardware key based authentication. The latter being the most secure.

Setting up a 2 factor authentication is a one time process for each service. Once setup the login process varies in the extent that once the user name, password are entered successfully, it asks for an app based code. On successful verification it carries on to the site. Since the app can only be installed on your device, no one can have access to that app based code that is generated.

  • You will need any one of these Apps to manage 2 Factor Authentication of your accounts - Microsoft Authenticator, Authy, Google Authenticator
  • Each service has slightly different steps for the one time setup process. Some of them are listed here - Apple Accounts, Microsoft Accounts, Google Accounts
  • You can also explore Authy's guides for popular services such as Linkedin, Dropbox and more - click here
  • In the setup process, each service will give you some backup codes for occasions where you may not have access to the authenticator app. Please save the codes for each service and read their instructions. You could save these codes in your preferred password manager too.

Using a VPN Service

Public wifi whilst useful can also be hazardous because of its shared nature. Plus increasingly there are concerns about inapproriate tracking by the adtech industry. There are many additional steps to ensure issues like fingerprinting of your browsing activity does not take place. But perhaps the second one is to have a fairly reliable paid VPN service provider.

You might want to read this article by the Electronic Frontier Foundation - https://ssd.eff.org/en/module/choosing-vpn-thats-right-you

Once you have purchased the service for the relevant number of devices, you will need to install their app on each device and activate the VPN. Some of the prominent paid VPNs are:

And there are many others as well. Most of the good service providers have multiple servers across the world. This helps customers to get an appropriate level of connection speeds and quality.

Using Find My and other services

Families are beginning to use services to keep updated about member's location and devices.

Apple's Find My is an integrated services that helps keep track of all the people in a family and their locations. It also tracks devices such as phones, computers, watches and more. Using this service requires you to be connected to an iCloud account and simply sliding the switch to start. - https://support.apple.com/en-in/explore/find-my

Google's Family Link also provides some location information for people in the family.

Life360 - For people use multiple device types and don't really want to be restricted to the features provided by the above two. - https://www.life360.com/

Enable Content Restrictions on your devices

Delivering age appropriate content, applications, music and books is an important and should not be ignored in configurations. Luckily it does not take very long to enforce the policy.

  • Android and Google Assistant - You can follow the steps mentioned here. If also includes information for those using Family Link.
  • Windows 10 - You are now required to connect a Microsoft account (Eg. outlook.com id) to your Windows 10 user account. This means when you connect a family member the permissions you have provided in the family account settings are carried forward to your Windows 10 machine too. Here is a quick overview
  • iPhones and iPads - Apple offers a utility called Screen Time to manage time and content restrictions.
  • Mac - Screen Time is also offered on the latest version of the OS.
  • Amazon Parental Controls - To set up restrictions on Prime Video you can follow the steps mentioned here

Protecting Information

Photos

The photos you share online might have additional information that may be harvested by third party services. Some of these include your location, the time it was clicked and much more. It is called EXIF data. You can read more about this on Adobe's site.

Some suggestions to help you decide whether to post photos of your child online - https://jelliesapp.com/blog/5-reasons-not-to-post-about-your-child-on-social-media

Further there have been instances of online photo printing services misusing these uploaded photos for machine learning based image recognition activities. Even on well known sites, please read their privacy policy and verify how they will be using these uploaded photos before signing up for services.

Voice Assistants

Voice assistants and devices are central to the oncoming voice experiences. They are always-on and can act on your requirements, whether to play a song, read a book, switch a light on or more.

It means what they hear can be recorded for service improvement or some other requirement. Service providers have previously not offered an option to delete these recordings. However things have changed now.

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