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Teenagers want to keep their identities safe online

Teenagers want to keep their identities safe online

9/5/2013

When most parents think about their kids' Internet use habits, they might give an involuntary shudder. If the media is to be believed, today's teenagers love sharing too much information and are too trusting of virtual communities, so much so that they might put themselves in harm's way. Every modern mother and father has to learn how to talk to their youngsters about online safety, or else their children might find themselves in a great deal of trouble, warns much of today's media coverage.

While it's true parents need to be vigilant and get involved with their children's digital lives if they want to keep them out of harm's way, one recent study showed that many moms and dads might not have as much to worry about as they once thought. In fact, teens might already be thinking about the need to protect their identities online.

Respect my privacy
According to Dark Reading, the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project released a report revealing that 60 percent of American teenagers ages 12 to 17 have downloaded apps to their mobile devices, but many are being careful about the process. The study discovered 26 percent of these individuals have uninstalled an app after finding out it collected their personal data, and nearly half (46 percent) of the young respondents asserted they had turned off location-tracking on their smartphones and tablets to maintain their privacy. Disabling tracking features was more common among teen girls (59 percent) than boys (37 percent).

Fifty-six percent of individuals between 12 and 19 said they avoid certain apps after finding out they have to share personal information to use them, with 49 percent of older teens (14 to 17) saying the same. Additionally, 70 percent of teenage Internet users have even asked for advice on how to manage their online identities effectively.

The study noted that teens' cautious behavior may not always be related to their desire to keep their data out of the hands of criminals. The report pointed out that sometimes, teen smartphone users may be disabling location-tracking and tamping down their online presence to keep their parents from snooping.

This study comes at a particularly important time of the year for parents, as Equifax claims the back-to-school months are dangerous for young people's identities. Moms and dads should take the opportunity to talk to their kids about smart mobile device and Internet use, as meeting new friends, enrolling in after-school programs and more can put personal details at risk of compromise. Among other measures, Equifax advised parents teach young technology-users about using strong passwords on their gadgets, advise them not to share identifying information on social media sites and ensure older teens with their own debit cards are using best practices to keep their PINs from being stolen.

By getting a plan from ProtectCELL that includes identity protection, the whole family can gain an extra layer of safety far beyond what their tablet or smartphone insurance can offer. With the help of identity theft support services powered by LifeLock and other remediation solutions, parents can be sure little mistakes won't result in big problems for their teens.

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