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8 Tech Conversations to Have with Your College Kid During Holiday Break
We live in a tech driven world. For many of us, the world looks very different than it did when we graduated from high school and spread our young adult wings. This means there are some important tech conversations to have with our college kids to ensure their gadgets are safe and their data is secure as they live and work in our hyper connected world. While your college kids are home for holiday break, it’s a great time to follow up with them and make sure they feel confident when it comes to keeping their devices secure.
Here are 8 Tech Conversations to Have with Your College Kids During Holiday Break
1. Are Your Devices Protected, Up to Date, and Backed Up?
One quick and easy thing you can do to protect your device is set a pin or password lock for it. It’s a simple step, and one that puts a quick layer of protection on your device.
It seems there are frequent updates for applications and operating systems for your device. Don’t ignore these updates. In addition to improving the performance of your device and offering new features, they often contain patches for security issues.
We often don’t think about backing up our device until it’s too late. But, mobile devices rival our computers in terms of the information we store. If your device is lost, stolen, or becomes infected with a virus, having a backup copy of your apps and data will get you back up and running again quickly. Not sure how to back up your device? Here are articles showing how to back up your iOS and Android.
2. Do You Have Antivirus/Anti-malware Software Installed on Your Devices?
Android users are well versed in installing Antivirus/Anti-malware software. Even die hard Android lovers like me will admit iOS does a great job when it comes to security. But, iOS users, don’t let your guard down. iPhones aren’t 100% safe from attacks. The majority of internet traffic comes though mobile devices. And, a growing number of viruses specifically target both iPhones and Android. Luckily there are a lot of great antivirus programs on the market for both Android and Apple devices. It’s worth the investment to protect yourself and your privacy.
3. Are You Using a Password Generator?
Managing passwords for the many sites used daily is tough. And, having your mobile device automatically enter passwords and log-in information into websites you visit frequently, poses a real security risk. But, there are some great third-party apps on the market that can manage passwords securely for you. These work for your computer and your mobile devices. So, you can create secure passwords for all the sites you use. My personal favorite is LastPass.
4. Do You Know How to Find Your Phone If It’s Lost? Or, Remotely Wipe Your Device in Case It’s Lost or Stolen?
We’ve talked about backing up your device data, but do you know what steps to take to find your phone if it’s lost? Or, how to quickly delete the data on your mobile device if you know it’s been stolen? These video tutorials for Android and iOS showing parents how to locate lost devices for their kids will show you how to do this for yourself. I hope you never have to use these instructions. But, you can rest easy knowing you have a plan in place should you lose your phone.
5. Are You Staying Secure When Using Public WiFi?
Public WiFi hot spots are typically open to anyone and not encrypted. This means anyone with some easy-to-find online tools connected to the same WiFi can potentially see any communications from your devices. This includes websites you visit and any log-in credentials you may use. Here is a good article from ESET on how to stay secure on a public WiFi connection. As a safety precaution, it’s always a good idea to turn WiFi off on your mobile device when you’re not using it.
6. Are You Using a VPN?
A VPN (or Virtual Private Network) is a private network that extends across a public network or internet. It enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network. Think of it as a private lane for only you on a busy highway interstate used by others. This is a simple explanation to a complicated topic. These two articles can help you get a VPN set up on your Apple or Android device.
7. Are You Feeling Comfortable with Your Monthly Budget?
When raising kids, we often overlook teaching money management. This shows up quickly when our kids head off for their first semester of college. If your child is struggling with money management, the best gift you can give them this holiday season is some time to discuss budgeting resources and tips. Here is a great article from Mintlife with money tips for college students. Mint has a great app available for iOS, Android, and Kindle which is perfect for keeping track of spending. Best of all, it’s free!
8. Do You Feel Like You are Finding a Comfortable Balance?
College life is much different than life in high school. Your child is now a young adult. This means they are managing a heavy academic load and a big life transition. Check to see how that balance is going for them. Listen, don’t judge. Remember what it was like to be 20. And, offer encouragement and some thoughts on apps that help streamline life for college students.
It’s easy to think our kids know more than us when it comes to technology. That’s true in most cases! But, our college age kids are juggling a whole new level of responsibility. Don’t overlook the important role you play in their lives when it comes to offering loving support and guidance. Spend some time while they are home for the holidays making sure they feel confident when it comes to keeping their devices secure. They’ll appreciate you care enough to have some important tech conversations with them.