Digital Check-Up

I recently got the oil changed on my car. I did this because a reminder popped up on my dashboard. So consider this your pop up reminder to do a digital check-up!

Do you get those emails or letters saying that privacy changes have occurred for an account/subscription you have? Do you ignore them? Truthfully I often do. But when it comes to our digital devices and subscriptions we need to be diligent. Are these companies giving out your information in a different way? Are they protecting your data as securely?

What about your social media? Have you recently checked that your preferences have remained the same? I have noticed that when apps update, sometimes my preferences change to more general allowances. I keep my personal preferences fairly tight. Limiting access to my posts and information to friends and approved groups. 

For your child’s video games, what has changed in regards to allowing access to other players? Again, when an update occurred, did it change your parental controls? Have you recently checked your child’s screen time on a daily or weekly basis. Both Apple products and android phones can be monitored. 

So as we enter 2020, add a Digital Check-Up to your to-do list. Here is a quick Digital Check-Up checklist followed by some ideas to accomplish the items: 

  1. Check screen times. 
    1. Apple mobile products have Screen Time listed under settings.
    2. Android users can download the Family Link app. 
  2. Check the Social Media preferences, particularly who can see the posts, for you and your child.
    1. Are you set for just friends and family seeing your posts or your  children’s posts?
  3. Video game settings. Check the parental controls. 
    1. If you can’t find them google the question as to where they can be found. If they don’t have any, maybe re-evaluate the use of this game. 
    2. While you are at it, play the game if you have not done so. This is a great way to see what is attracting your child to the game.
  4. Passwords, have you, and your children, been using the same password on multiple sites and/or for a long time? Time to change  it. It is possible it has been exposed during a data breach somewhere. 
    1. The Mozilla organization, makers of the Firefox browser have a new free tool you can use to check if any of your info/data was exposed in a data breach. It is called Firefox Monitor, it’s free to use and you may be surprised at what it shows you. Mozilla has recently doubled down on privacy and the latest version of Firefox is arguably the most privacy focussed browser of the big four right now. 
    2. If Firefox isn’t your cup of tea and you are a Chrome user, they offer data breach tools also. In August Chrome released their Password Checkup Extension. Once installed it would alert you whenever you login to a site if your username and password were exposed in a data breach and prompt you to update them. 
    3. Google just announced that the forthcoming Chrome 79 will have built in protections and will monitor your saved passwords and notify you should they appear in a breach. Using a browser without these features? Checkout https://haveibeenpwned.com/ enter your email address and it will tell you if/when/where it was exposed. You can even sign up for notifications.
  5. VPN – do you often use public wifi, hotels, airports, coffee shops? If so and you are not using a vpn, you may be exposing your sensitive data, passwords, credit cards, etc.  
    1. A vpn encrypts all your internet traffic making it very hard to intercept your traffic. There are many providers out there and plans can cost as little as a cup of coffee a month. EdTech Ease’s CTO uses Express VPN and is very happy with the speed and security it provides.

What did your Digital Check-Up reveal? Reach out with your discoveries via Twitter (@edtechease) or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/edtechease/) or email me, swladis@edtechease.com.

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