Social media and motherhood – a tricky balance

Important tips from cyber security specialists Kaspersky Lab 

Sharing is caring – this expression is well-known in the ‘mommy’ world and is something that many parents aim to teach their kids. But this concept, especially in the social media space, can be daunting. Some parents are not certain what is worth sharing, while other parents share every moment, from the piece of cake their little ones eats to their first day at school – gaining a high number of ‘likes’ and positive comments – because for many, these moments are often just too precious not to share! However, at what cost?

As many moms use social platforms to share their special family moments, most of which include pictures with children – this can be very risky.  Unfortunately, today, cybercriminals trawl social media, with the aim of hacking into accounts and collecting/stealing information and images – for their own gain (to sell or to create fake accounts to launch malware or viruses). In fact, in 2016, 7% of all South African online accounts where hacked.

But as moms – you want to share your memories or post family updates – and why not.  However, given some of the negative undercurrents of the social media space, it is prudent to minimise the chance of your social media account(s) from being hacked – as we all want to keep your family pictures and memories protected online. So, Kaspersky Lab has provided some important tips that moms (and dads) can follow, to help stay protected.

Make sure to have a strong login password

Cybercriminals steal user’s information for a living – this is their 9 to 5 job. Once they have stolen information, they then sell it to other cybercriminals, to make money – unfortunately unwary users suffer as a result. A password like Olivia21 or Scruffy does not pass the test of strong passwords. When creating a password, make it hard for anyone to guess – so don’t use your pets name or birth date – as this makes it much easier for cybercriminals to get into your online account(s). So, something like, Il0veTwitt3r! will go a long way, as this password has numbers, a symbol, and letters, making it more complicated to guess.  

Check and change privacy settings

In recent reports, it was stated that social media numbers have increased and therefore keeping your online audience to ‘friends’ or ‘private’ is very important – don’t just let anyone see your posts or use your photos. Social media networks have the option to increase your privacy and security levels on their sites, this means that you can control, far more, who sees your profile page and pictures and who can access your information. Think about it – you don’t want everyone knowing things like, what school your children go to, or when your family is away on holiday.

Additionally, make sure you don’t just accept any friend requests – be sure you know who the person is.

But, if you are looking for further protection, moms can download a security app, like Kaspersky Internet Security for Android or Kaspersky Safe Browser for iOS, which will block cybercriminals from going through your device website history (which is a way cybercriminals try and access online accounts).

Be informed about online cookies and delete them regularly

Online cookies are a part of all websites, and are automatically saved by your browser. These cookies then stay ‘saved’ on your PC or smart device, as a means of making your browsing experience quicker and easier.  However, cybercriminals examine these ‘çookies’ as a way of learning things about users – if they are not deleted or protected. So rather, clean out all cookies. The process of deleting differs according to which browser you use, so go online and search how you can delete cookies as you don’t want cybercriminals knowing important information about you – like your passwords or the kind of transactions you have made.

The social media world is no different really to the physical ‘living’ world –  where, as a mom, you always consider the safety and security of your family.  So, when you are online – you need to make the same consideration. Be careful what your share, who you interact with and take steps to safeguard your time online. Think before sharing, and make sure the right security measures are in place – so you can continue to enjoy those special moments and memories with family and friends.

 

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