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Raising Fraud Smart Kids: 5 Lessons to Teach Your Kids About Online Safety

Between apps, social media, games, streaming TV and even online platforms for distance learning, today's kids are more connected than ever before!

Because kids of all ages have access to a variety of digital devices, it's never too early to start teaching the children in your life about the basics of online safety.

Here are five important lessons kids should know before they start surfing the web:

Lesson #1: Not everyone is a “friend" online

Even if your child isn't allowed to use the internet unsupervised yet, they may still have access at school, the library or friends' houses. Make sure they know not to talk to strangers online or accept friend requests from people they don't know. If your kids have social media, you can set their account's privacy settings to limit what they can see and do.

Lesson #2: Keep private information private

Help your kids understand that their personal information is valuable and needs to be protected. Certain facts shouldn't be shared online, such as their full name, birthdate, address, phone number, Social Security number and financial information. Take time to have an honest discussion with your kids about online etiquette. Explain that what they share online never really goes away, so they should always think twice before posting.

It's wise to limit the amount of information you share about the children in your life, too. Check your privacy settings to ensure you're only sharing photos and personal updates with friends and family you know and trust.

Lesson #3: Create strong passwords and update them regularly

As your kids start to use the internet for email, online learning, social media and more, be sure they understand the importance of using strong passwords. Help them create a complex password or passphrase and set up two-factor authentication whenever possible. Remind your children not to share passwords with friends or strangers online.

Lesson #4: Spot the signs of a scam

Identity thieves and cybercriminals will often target young people because they assume they aren't scam-savvy. However, you can protect your kids by teaching them the red flags of a scam. Encourage them to come to you if they receive any suspicious emails, messages, pop-ups or even phone calls. Let them know it's okay to ignore people who ask for their private information, even if they claim to be from a familiar source.

Another good life lesson to teach your kids is that if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. They should steer clear of surprise online sweepstakes, contests and any claim they can “get rich quick," especially if someone is asking for payment or personal information. If something doesn't feel right, they should always stop and ask for help.

Lesson #5: Think twice before downloading “free" content

Pirated online content is not just illegal; it's also a way for hackers to infect your devices with malware and obtain personal information. Educate your children about the dangers of downloading “free" videos, movies, TV shows, games or music from unknown sources. Consider setting up parental controls on smart devices to prevent young kids from downloading apps or content without permission.

Get more tips for raising fraud smart kids

Teaching your kids these lessons early in life will give them a great foundation to stay safe online and prevent fraud in the future!

As always, Wright-Patt Credit Union (WPCU) is here to help you and your family stay informed, protect your personal and financial information and avoid becoming a victim of fraud. For more helpful fraud prevention tips, tools and resources, visit