Online Shopping Safety Tips For Kids
In the twenty-first century, there are plenty of kids doing online shopping with a parent’s credit card and little to no supervision. If you do allow this as a parent, you can use a variety of safety strategies on your end, from using a VPN to monitoring credit card activity to blocking your child from certain websites. However, it’s still essential to teach kids how to protect themselves while shopping, during the hectic holiday season and beyond. Here are some things to cover in a good parenting session on how to shop online safely:
Only shop at home on your parents’ network. It’s easier to hack your device or have your password seen by others when you use the internet in public places like airports, restaurants, and stores. Because you can’t know how secure the Wi-Fi is elsewhere, it’s best to shop online only when you’re at home, where you know that your network is secure.
Make sure the website is secure. If a website is not encrypted, it is not secure, and the information you enter (including credit card numbers) can be stolen. To identify secure websites, look for the “s” in “https” at the beginning of the site’s URL, or for the small lock symbol to the left of it.
Use strong passwords. Be sure to use strong passwords for any online accounts, including games. These should never contain any personal information (like a birthday, phone number, or address) and they should not be easy to guess. At the same time, passwords should be memorable enough that you won’t easily forget them. It’s also good to use a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
Don’t shop on social media and third party sites. Whenever you click on links to a store from anywhere that is not their official website, you are at risk of being sent to a fake store on a lookalike website. The risk is even greater if you do this from a social media platform, which are prime targets for scammers. Google the name of the store, click on their official website, and bookmark it for later use if you want to shop there often.
Report all purchases and amounts to your parents. Your parents are responsible for paying the credit card bills, and if they encounter expensive surprises on it, it can seriously hurt their budget (and ability to pay for other things). You can protect your parents by telling them about all your online purchases.
Teach Kids Safe Tech Use With Net Positive
The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Utah County is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens and leaders. We accomplish this by providing evidence-based programs with a focus on those that improve academic engagement, build character, and improve healthy behaviors.
Our Net Positive Program educates K-12 students about digital safety, health, citizenship, and leadership. After participating in our program, students are 97% better prepared to face internet dangers. Contact us to learn more and ask your school to schedule a Net Positive Presentation, or support us with your donation today!
Crail, Chauncey. “Can I Add My Child to My Credit Card?” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 15 June 2022, https://www.forbes.com/advisor/credit-cards/should-you-add-your-children-as-authorized-user-on-your-credit-card/.
“Use Strong Passwords.” Harvard University Information Security, https://security.harvard.edu/use-strong-passwords.