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Safer Internet Day: Online Security Tips For All Ages

  |  Dashlane

On Tuesday, February 6th, people in over 100 countries will celebrate Safer Internet Day, an international initiative led by a non-profit, ConnectSafely. Safer Internet Day promotes the secure and positive use of digital technology for everyone, especially children and young people. 

People of all ages, from kids in school to senior citizens, use passwords to protect and access their online accounts, and it’s important that every password is strong, unique, and secure. At Dashlane, we're proud to play our part in making the internet a safer space by offering a secure, easy-to-use password management solution. Read on for online safety tips across different age groups and ways Dashlane can help everyone, from teens to grandparents, stay safe online.

Tips for parents

Whether you have toddlers, teens, or young ones in between, these tips can help you keep them safer as they interact with the internet. 

Young children (ages 2-6)

Set parental controls: As the parent of a young child, you know sleep is priceless, and you definitely don’t want to add any obstacles to your little one’s slumber. Before you give them control of your tablet or hand over the smart TV remote, it’s a good idea to set parental controls that block or filter out inappropriate internet content. This way, they’re less likely to accidentally see something scary that makes them resistant to head to bed. 

Supervise screen time: Even with parental controls in place, it’s smart to supervise young children when they’re online because no filter is 100% perfect. New content comes up quickly on social media and video platforms, and it only takes content a second to go from silly to scary and strange, so make sure you’re nearby and ready to manage it if necessary.  

Introduce password privacy: It might sound strange to explain password privacy to small children, but they might already know and use your phone or tablet passcode to watch their shows. Explain why it’s important not to share such private information with anyone, and make sure you don’t reuse the same PIN elsewhere. 

A graphic of a quote stating, “74% of consumers value privacy highly, and 82% are concerned about how their data is used.”

Kids in elementary school (ages 7-12)

Apply consistent guidelines: You set rules for your child to follow every day, so consider extending those same rules to digital spaces. For example, both in the real world and online, empower your child to practice kindness, respect others, think before they share information, understand that their actions have consequences, and come to you with any concerns. 

Teach them to identify red flags: Help kids recognize and immediately alert you about red flags, such as requests for personal information, inappropriate content, or any other online behavior that makes them uncomfortable. 

Stay informed: Regularly ask your child about the programs, games, and apps they use at school or a friend’s house when you’re not around.

Teenagers (ages 13-18)

Safe social media use: Talk to your teen about how to use social media securely and responsibly, and remind them to be cautious about sharing personal information on social media, even with friends. The Mayo Clinic recommends teaching your child not to send or share anything online that they wouldn’t want the entire world to see for all eternity.

Cyberbullying prevention: Discuss the importance of kindness and empathy online. Cyberbullying is an all-too-common issue among teens in the internet era, so be sure to encourage them to report any instances of online harassment and to support their peers.

Online threat education: Adults aren’t the only ones targeted by cybercriminals. Teach kids about common online threats like phishing, scams, and inappropriate content. Discuss how to avoid them, and also talk about what to do if something happens. 

General tips for parents

Keep the conversation going: The internet and tech move fast. Make sure to have an ongoing conversation about online safety with your child and update your guidance as your kids become more independent online.

Think before you post: As a parent, you don’t always think about the fact that you’re building your child’s digital footprint with every social media photo or funny anecdote posted online. It’s important to be mindful of your child’s privacy and be cautious about the pictures and information you share about them online. For example, consider how much private information about a child can be easily gathered from a single back-to-school photo. Much like we tell our kids, the things we post online exist forever, so it’s good to consider the future implications as kids grow older.

Use Dashlane to keep track of logins and other important info: Save time by keeping all your kids’ passwords, school ID numbers, and other important information organized and ready to go in Dashlane. (You can even create a “School” Collection in Dashlane to group all of them together.) And when your kids are teens and have their own logins to manage, give them their own private Dashlane account with a Friends & Family plan so they can safely create, store, share, and autofill strong, unique passwords.

Tips for adults

Even as adults, we won’t be perfect at online literacy. These tips are great reminders for all ages and include actions you can take right now for a safer online presence.

In your late teens and 20s

Secure your social media: Starting with your socials, make sure your online presence is as professional as your physical presence at an internship or job interview. Adjust your privacy settings and do an unsavory content audit (no, your future employers won’t be impressed by your partying abilities). 

Elevate your digital security: College and adult life come with lots of accounts and logins (an average of 227, according to our 2023 Password Health Report). Instead of constantly forgetting and resetting them, keeping them in an unsecured location, or reusing the same password—which means cybercriminals could break into multiple accounts if they crack one of your passwords—use Dashlane. The app comes with a built-in Password Generator, and both Premium and Friends & Family plans come with unlimited password and passkey storage and access on unlimited devices, so you can keep all your logins in your secure vault and autofill them whenever and wherever you need them.

In your 30s-50s

Manage your digital footprint: Make sure to regularly audit and review your online presence, including your old accounts and posts. Be mindful of the information you provide on social media and professional networking sites.

Regularly back up your data: Back up important files and data to an external hard drive or a secure cloud service on a regular basis. In case of a ransomware attack or hardware failure, backups ensure that you’ll be able to recover your information. Dashlane can also help with this: In addition to password and passkey storage, the app has a safe space for identification documents like passports and social security cards.

Graphic demonstrating how ransomware works. First, the ransomware is delivered through email phishing. Next, the ransomware encrypts computer files. Then, a ransom is demanded.

In your 60s and onward

Think about digital footprints: Sharing updates about your grandkids and travel plans is fun, but it's also great fodder for cybercriminals looking to target you with seemingly accurate information. Limiting the amount of personal information you share about yourself and your family online can make you less vulnerable to threats from hackers. 

Educate yourself about scams: Unfortunately, cybercriminals often target older people. They may pretend to be a grandchild in distress looking for payment, or they might try to convince you that your computer is infected or that you owe them money. Stay up to date on the latest digital scams and learn how to avoid them. 

General tips

No matter your age, these tips are good for everyone to keep in mind, as more of our daily lives center around being online.

Limit the personal info you share: Hackers love oversharers. Unfortunately, the more information you share online, the easier it is to try to crack your passwords (which are often based on things like your house number, street name, birthdate, or pet’s name) or to create a super relevant phishing email for you, which might look like it’s a delivery update from your favorite store (you know, the one you post about all the time). 
Use strong, unique passwords: Speaking of using your pet’s name or a loved one’s birthday as a password, please don’t do it! Dashlane’s Password Generator helps you create complex, unique logins that you can easily save and autofill for every account.

Infographic with examples of poor passwords and further instructions on better practices when creating and managing passwords.

Stay safe on WiFi: Use strong passwords for your WiFi network at home, and remember to change it periodically. When you’re on public WiFi, use a VPN (virtual private network) to keep your browsing information encrypted and private. Dashlane Premium comes with a VPN that makes it easy for users to add this security step. 

Share passwords securely: Families and friends share a lot through text, including streaming and WiFi passwords. It might be fast and easy, but it’s also unsecured and unencrypted. Dashlane gives users unlimited secure sharing, so you’ll never have to scroll through all the texts in the family group chat or search for the scrap of paper with the WiFi password ever again. 

Be wary of phishing scams: Phishing is the second-most common cause of data breaches, and attempts are getting more sophisticated. Exercise caution if the webpage or sender’s email seems suspicious or includes typos or an urgent request. Verify the authenticity of personal or financial information requests by typing in the web address and heading directly to the site instead, and reach out to contacts through a different channel to verify their requests.

An example of a phishing email with a strange URL that doesn’t match the company name, a subject line with an urgent request, misspellings and bad grammar throughout the email, and a suspicious attachment.

Use features that minimize phishing potential: Dashlane offers several features that minimize your risk of being phished. Real-time phishing alerts warn you before you copy and paste your credentials on a suspicious site. You can also choose to use passkeys to login where supported. Passkeys minimize phishing risk by design, and Dashlane makes it easy to create, store, and use them to log in across devices. 

Safer Internet Day is only one day per year, but internet safety is important every day. With these tips and Dashlane by your side, you can stay safe online all year and help your loved ones do the same.

Learn more about our personal password management plans.

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