11 easy ways to protect the mobile security of your family

Mar 1, 2012 10:35am

By Emily Eckland, NCSA Managing Editor of Digital Media

If you're a parent, you're always thinking about the safety of your children. But how often are you thinking about your child's security and privacy on mobile devices?

If the answer is not enough, you're not alone.

We recently partnered with NQ Mobile to conduct a surveyon how parents think and act when it comes to the mobile security of their children.

Our findings show the majority of parents aren’t talking to their kids about protecting their privacy and security on their phones.

Of those surveyed, 56 percent hadn’t talked to their kids about protecting their privacy when using a mobile phone and 63 percent hadn’t talked to their children about security measures for their phones.

Parents may not be talking about mobile safety with their kids – but they know parental controls exist.

Of the parents we surveyed, 71 percent said they knew parental controls can help protect their kids by monitoring usage, establishing time limits, and blocking websites, apps, GPS location and access to personal data. But only 60 percent have used them.

Parental controls aren’t the only ways to be proactive about your child’s online safety.

Talk to your children about privacy and how they share information online.  Encourage your children to take an active role in learning safe practices and behaviors and follow three simple steps: STOP. THINK. CONNECT. 

Here are 11 easy ways parents can protect the mobile security and privacy of their family:

  • Keep a Clean Machine: Mobile devices are computers with software that needs to be kept up-to-date (just like your PC, laptop or tablet). Security protections are built in and updated on a regular basis. Take time to make sure all the mobile devices in your house have the latest protections. This may require synching your device with a compute
  • Keep Security Software Current: Having the latest mobile security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
  • Protect Your Personal Information: Phones can contain tremendous amounts of personal information. Lost or stolen devices can be used to gather information about you and, potentially, others. Protect your phone like you would your computer.
  • Secure Your Phone: Use a strong passcode to lock your phone.
  • Think Before You App: Review the privacy policy and understanding what data (location, access to your social networks) on your device an app can access before you download.
  • Protect Your Number: Only give your mobile number out to people you know and trust and never give anyone else's number out without their permission.
  • Connect with Care: Use common sense when you connect. If you’re online through an unsecured or unprotected network, be cautious about the sites you visit and the information you release.
  • When in Doubt, Don’t Respond: Fraudulent texting, calling and voicemails are on the rise. Just like email, requests for personal information or to immediate action are almost always a scam.
  • Be Web Wise: Stay informed of the latest updates on your device. Know what to do if something goes wrong.
  • Be a Good Online Citizen:  It is easy to say things from via phone or text that you would never say face to face. Remind your kids to maintain the same level of courtesy on the phone as they would in the real world. Know that emails, texts, photos and videos can always be forwarded.