In the digital age, social media and online networks have become popular ways of staying connected to your friends, family members, and community. As you traverse the complex digital landscape, however, protecting your safety and privacy are paramount. There are numerous perks associated with technology, online communities, and social networks, but these tools also can subject you and your family to ever-evolving risks, such as cybersecurity threats, data breaches, online harassment, and identity theft.

How to Protect Your Family Online

Both you and your children have to be careful and conscientious when using technology and communicating with people online. Here are a few tips for protecting your information, and your children’s, in the digital age:

1. Encrypt Emails

You don’t need to encrypt every email you send, but if it includes highly sensitive information, such as credit card data or social security information, it’s worth considering. The information in an encrypted email will appear scrambled to anyone except you as the authorized sender and your recipient. You can affordably integrate email encryption into your existing account and use it when needed.

2. Be Cautious with Attachments and Links

This has become common knowledge, but it’s good to remember: Don’t click on links or download attachments included in emails from people or companies you don’t know. If an email looks like it comes from a legit or reputable company, check the actual email address from which it was sent. Also, look for spelling errors or weird fonts. Usually, you can detect fraudulent accounts with these simple strategies and protect yourself from phishing.

3. Connect Through a VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a secure way to connect to a public network over the Internet and protect your privacy. VPNs, which you can install on any device, act as an additional shield that blocks people from tracing your online activity. Although VPN services are commonly used by businesses, you can find services designed for individuals, as well. They are typically offered at a per-month fee as part of subscription and cost about $50 per year or $7 per month, depending on the plan you choose.

4. Turn Off Location Data

Unless your kid is using GPS so you can know their location while they’re hanging out with friends or running errands, it’s best to turn off location services on any devices that are connected to the Internet. Hackers, organizations, and governments can use that data to track your location or your daily routine and common movements. They can figure out where and when you pick up and drop off your kids at school, dance rehearsal, or baseball practice.

5. Use Public Wi-Fi Carefully

Unless you have a VPN, all the information you send and receive using public Wi-Fi is easily accessible to even amateur hackers. Public Wi-Fi is inherently more risky than your private network, so stick to using as few public networks as possible and only those that are operated by well-know, reputable companies, like Starbucks.

6. Check for Privacy Indicators on Websites

When you are inputting sensitive data on a website, double check that it has a secure connection. Otherwise, your credit card number, address, or phone number are not safe. A good rule of thumb is to ensure the web address is encrypted with “https://” as opposed to simply “http://” before you offer your personal information.

7. Manage Your Privacy Settings

Many social networks give you the option to manage your privacy settings to control who can see what. You can put them on the most restrictive settings, which is especially a good idea if you post about your children. There are also social networking sites and apps that are specifically designed with families in mind, and they offer advanced privacy settings to protect you and your children.

 Connecting Safely and Securely

As a social network, Go2s is diligent about protecting its members’ safety and privacy. You can choose privacy settings for your individual profile and trust your personal information is not being shared with advertisers or third-party vendors. Even though Go2s is designed for you to connect with your close, trusted friends and family, you still have complete control over who can see your contact information, posts, and discussions, which helps protect you and your children online.