5 Ways to Make Your Family Safer Online

Stacie Taylor-Cima
May 18 · 3 min read

At my workshops on Protecting our Children Online, we talk at length about different ways we can work to build healthy internet habits as a family, but below you will find several solid actions you can take to make your family’s internet experience safer! Block out a few hours over the next month to put these protections in place!

Need help? On June 25th at noon, I’ll be hosting a Password Manager workshop at The Makers Place in Sacramento. Bring your laptop and we’ll get you all set up! :-)

Clean up your connected apps:

When you grant third-party apps and extensions access to your accounts and devices, they generally will have that access FOREVER. Should those apps become unmaintained, they become a gold-mine to a hacker. Keep your data and devices safe by doing a little spring cleaning! Head over to Chrome, Safari, mobile phones, tablets, etc. and remove apps or restrict permissions as necessary.

Create a Mnemonic Device password:

Think of a fun phrase or an event that you can remember. It could be your family’s favorite film, a children’s book, when and from what high school you graduated from, etc. Take that phrase, extract the first letter of each word and the punctuation involved and use it as a password. Once you have that great password, you’ll use it as your Master Password for the Password Manager that you’ll be downloading. Here is an example to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Phrase: Buddy the Elf’s dad’s name is Walter Hobbs!
  • Use the first letter from some or all the words in the phrase or title: bte’sd’dniwh!
  • Change some of the letters into numbers and some into symbols: bt3’$d’sn1wh!
  • Make some of the letters uppercase and some lowercase: Bt3’$d’sn1WH!

Download a Password Manager:

Password managers help us generate super secure passwords, easily store and use them, and give restricted access to our friends and family who might need to use them on occasion. LastPass and 1password are options that I use and regularly recommend to families. Download one and start adding all of your accounts to it! If you need a little guidance here, I’ll be hosting a workshop on Password Managers at The Makers Place on June 25th at noon!

Apply parental controls everywhere:

Most of the devices and apps that we use come with built-in parental controls that are helpful in filtering a lot of explicit content that our children might happen upon.

Routers: Start with Googling your router’s model and see if you can apply parental controls on that level. This will help filter out inappropriate content that might be hitting things like your smart TVs, gaming systems, and computers.

Browsers & Apps: Then, apply controls to each individual browser and app that your children use. This should be fairly easy to implement. If you’re having trouble figuring out if an app has parental controls or how to apply them, try running a quick Google search to turn up some helpful resources.

Parental Control Software: If you want to take it even further and have access to advanced features that will help you create amazing filters, time limits, track your children’s activity online, there are a number of fantastic tools that you can download that will help you manage your family’s internet usage! Check out a few of the most popular options over here: https://bit.ly/2WUsUnu

Create family internet rules:

Creating rules around your family’s internet usage is a fantastic way to teach your kids how to safely use the internet and help them build good habits that they’ll take with them throughout life!

Work together as a family to come up with your own internet rules and guidelines, draft them up, and post them somewhere that is easy to reference!

Want to help other families create rules? Creating rules for your family around internet usage is such a gray area! What works for your family won’t work for all families. It’s not something that you can just Google and get solid answers for. I’m hoping I can get your help here! After you come up with your family rules, tweet me your ideas at @simply_cima. I intend to create a resource for parents where they can come get ideas for internet rules to use in their households!

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