As a parent, you take many steps to set your children on the path to success. You may start a college savings account to ensure their educational future, or begin teaching them about money early in life. In addition to teaching your children, one important step in building your kids’ financial future is protecting their personal information online. The FDIC offers some tips on the best ways to do this.
- If a company wants to collect your child’s information, understand how it will be used
Controlling your child’s personal information is the best way to protect him or her from identity theft. Websites and apps targeted to children under 13 must get parental consent to collect, use or disclose a child’s information. Keep in mind that when obtaining this information, the company must also disclose how it plans to use it.
- Teach your child how to be safe online
Encourage children to be selective with who they are “friends” with online. Discuss the risks that exist, and help them understand how someone could use the information they share to take their identity.
- Explain the intention of advertisements
Help your children understand that the goal of fraudulent advertising is to get people to sometimes do things they may not usually do, like going to unsecure websites that ask for personal information. To help kids learn to make better decisions, the FTC has created a game that helps kids think critically about ads.
- Explain the safety of keeping money at a financial institution
Accounts at a federally insured institution are safe places to keep money. If your child does not already have a deposit account, consider opening one for him or her. [First Internet Bank offers an account for minors that automatically transitions to a regular account when they turn 18.]
- Be alert for signs that your child has become a victim of identity theft
If your child is receiving unsolicited mail or phone calls, this could be a sign that his or her information has been collected. Also consider requesting a credit report in your child’s name from the three major credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — to ensure everything is accurate. It’s generally a good idea to do this around the age of 16, which allows time to fix any errors before your child begins applying for loans or a job.
The FDIC also offers Money Smart guides that include exercises, activities and conversation starters for helping kids of all ages learn about money. First Internet Bank is also dedicated to protecting private information for you and your family. As always, call us toll-free at 1-888-873-3424 if you have any questions.