Did you know that approximately 70 million smartphones are lost each year, and only around 7% are recovered? With most children and teenagers having access to some form of a smartphone, knowing how to protect your children and their privacy in this digital age is a must.

Most parents today prefer to keep most of their lives private. Approximately 70% of adults in the U.S. prefer to keep some of their digital life private from the eyes of others, including the public. Knowing how to relay those same messages to your own kids can help to steer them on a path that does not breach their own privacy or security.

1. Discuss Risks Openly

Open communication goes a long way when it comes to parenting children, whether they are in grade school or in high school. Discussing the risks of the internet, various apps, and online hackers is essential for any child today, especially if they own a smartphone or have access to the internet.

Discuss the risks of potential cyberbullying, hacking, phishing attacks, and identity theft, as these all pose a real-world threat for those browsing online. Ask your child if he or she has any questions or if they are already familiar with digital risks and how to protect their own privacy online.

2. Set Clear Rules and Boundaries

Always set clear rules and boundaries for your child whenever they are attempting to use the internet or play games with others. Be sure to go over the risks of chatting with strangers or sharing personal information. Keep a close eye on your children whenever they’re online, even if they’re teenagers, and insist on their privacy. Ensuring they remain safe is your job as a parent.

3. Monitor Your Child’s School Activities

Spend a bit of time asking questions about your child’s school, peers, and academic schedule. Inquire about apps they are using and whether or not they are being safe online. Approximately one in 10 children attend a private school. If you’re unsure about the state of public or charter schools in your area, consider a private school if that’s an option for you and your household.

4. Stay Aware of Afterschool Games and Activities

Along with monitoring potential cyberbullying at school, it’s also important to keep a close watch on your child’s after-school activities. Whether they’re enrolled in computer classes or enjoy playing the latest version of Fortnite, it’s imperative to know who your child is talking to and befriending at all times in today’s day and age.

5. Provide Helpful Tips

Regardless of your child’s age, it doesn’t hurt to provide them with helpful tips whenever they’re online or playing games with others. Some tips to pass on include not sharing passwords, creating strong passwords, and knowing how to manage recovery email addresses.

6. Check Usernames and Passwords

Another way to ensure that your child is safe and protected whenever they’re online is to assist them with managing their accounts, especially if your child is young. Helping your child manage their accounts is also a way to monitor them for potentially suspicious behavior.

7. Restrict Usage When Necessary

Unfortunately, there is likely to come a time when taking electronics or restricting your child from the internet is necessary. This is simply part of being a part of and taking responsibility for your child’s actions or behaviors. Restricting usage may be necessary if your child is making accounts that you were unaware of or even speaking with strangers or adults without your knowledge while they are online.

Knowing how to keep your child safe whenever they’re online today is essential to protect their privacy and security. Whether you want to ensure your child steers clear of strangers or potentially dangerous hackers, open communication and ongoing dialogue go a long way.