The internet is an incredible technological achievement, but that doesn’t mean every part of the internet is safe. Everyone needs to practice internet safety and security. Teenagers in particular, who have more freedom than younger children and less experience protecting themselves online than adults, need to know how to keep themselves safe online. Here are some tips about how teenagers can protect their identities online.

Understand How To Protect Your Identity And What To Do if It’s Been Compromised

The first thing most people think of when they hear about identity security is identity theft and how to prevent it. Anyone can be a victim of identity theft, but it’s more likely if you have an online presence. Teenagers, particularly young college students, are valuable targets for identity thieves because their credit reports tend to be clean. They may be easier targets due to relatively lax cybersecurity practices, naïvety about how serious identity theft can be, being less likely to check their finances regularly and using more than one device. Teenagers should make an effort to understand the severity of identity theft and best practices for protecting themselves from it.

Learn To Recognize Scams Targeting Teenagers

The stereotypical victim of an internet scam is an older person who may not be experienced in navigating online spaces. However, scammers can successfully target anyone of any age. They simply tailor their scams to their targets. Teenagers should learn what types of scams they may encounter and how to avoid them. Scams that target teenagers include shopping scams, financial aid scams, sextortion and talent scouting scams.

Avoid Posting Any Sensitive Data Online

One of the easiest ways to protect your identity online is to avoid posting any sensitive data. Sometimes, such as when you open a bank account, posting identifying data is unavoidable. However, there are many situations where including sensitive data is unnecessary. When you create a social media account, visit a website or post on a message board, you should be as anonymous as you can. Only include information that is required by the site, such as a username. If a website requires you to include information such as your birthday, try to mark that information as private so other users can’t see it. You should also avoid revealing identifying information such as your current location, your full name, your address and your social security number.

Enable Strong Access Control Features

Many businesses and financial institutions require users to create strong passwords and utilize multi-factor authentication. If you participate in online banking, you’re likely familiar with PINs and security questions. You can enable strong access control features in your personal internet usage, too. Implement multifactor authentication on your devices and accounts. Select a secure method of unlocking your phone, such as facial recognition. Use a password manager to store and protect your passwords so you can create random ones.

Set All Your Profiles And Accounts To Private

All your profiles and accounts should be private. This setting restricts access to your entire account or certain parts of your account. Many social media websites allow you to customize your privacy settings, with options to make your account public, accessible only to people you know or accessible only to people whose follow or friend requests you approve. If your account is set to private, the information you post there is more difficult for cybercriminals, cyberbullies and other bad actors to access or steal. Make sure you check a site’s privacy settings before deciding to create an account. If the site doesn’t allow the level of privacy you’re comfortable with, you may need to consider not creating an account or implementing other protections.

Practicing online safety can keep you safe in the present and throughout your life. Someone who begins protecting himself or herself at a young age is more likely to continue doing so as he or she grows into adulthood. Basic security practices can protect everyone and you may need to utilize more specialized protections depending on your online activities.