When it comes to using the Internet, the topic of data privacy always comes up. Because many apps collect the data of the users. But what is actually behind it and what should you pay attention to as a parent?
Data protection refers to the protection of personal data. This is all the data that relates to a specific person, such as their full name, date of birth, their phone number, etc.
Data protection is a fundamental right in the European Union. Every person has the right to decide what happens to their own data. All companies that use and process such data must ensure that it is not simply disseminated. But also each person himself should pay attention to what data is circulating about him.
Once information has been spread on the net, it can be misused. The best way to protect your own data is to use online media sparingly. Think carefully about what data you disclose about yourself and your children online. Without us realizing it, we leave data traces, for example by using a messenger and other apps as well as by surfing the web.
There are privacy statements for the use of apps and platforms that state what data is collected and for what purpose. After uploading or during registration, each and every user agrees to them. Applications access certain functions of the user’s own smartphone or tablet for this purpose. But we also voluntarily disclose information about ourselves by uploading and publishing videos, photos, and so on.
Therefore, it is important to disable certain app permissions when the application is not in use or does not require access to individual functions. In our article on this topic, you will learn what to look out for.
In the coming weeks, we will take a closer look at the individual functions and app permissions here at Parents’ Guide. You’ll learn when location access can be problematic, what to look for when enabling Bluetooth, and more.
An essential requirement for protecting the data on one’s smartphone or access to applications by others is a good password. In our article “Safe is Safe: Passwords on the Net” you will learn everything you need to know.
Two-factor verification requires another confirmation in addition to a password. This can be, for example, a numerical code that is displayed on your smartphone via an app. This way, only the person who both knows the password and is in possession of your smartphone has access. You quickly get used to the extra step and the added security is worth it.
Data protection is also important when sending messages via messenger or e-mail. When a message is encrypted, the content can no longer be read. Only with the appropriate key can the message be recovered. This can be compared to a letter that has a lock on it. Only the person with the right key can open the letter to read what is inside. So if a third person gets hold of the message, they can’t do anything with the message without the key. Therefore, it makes sense to use services that work with encryption. For websites, you can tell from the address whether the connection is encrypted. Whenever there is an “s” after the “http” (i.e. “https://…) it means that the connection is encrypted. You can read more about encryption here.
Smartphones come with some features to make chatting, surfing the web and using apps safer for your child. Nevertheless, these settings on the device or even parental control apps do not replace the supervision of you as a parent. Your child should always understand why certain websites or apps should be blocked or why GPS tracking should remain disabled. Also, always base your control and safety on your child’s age and development. Young people can better and more independently assess how to protect devices and their own data than children with their first own cell phone. Especially with teens, don’t intrude too much on your child’s privacy. However, always try to stay in conversation with your child and be there as a contact person in case of questions or uncertainties. Here you can find more tips on how to make your child’s smartphone safer.