Children are increasingly susceptible to tech dependence, and cybercriminals are responding.

Teenage boy looking at his mobile phone.

“It seemed like a good idea at the time” might as well be the motto of Silicon Valley, that stands out in particular with Apple’s AirDrop. AirDrop is designed to be a tool for people who own Apple products to quickly share files with each other through WiFi or Bluetooth. Essentially, if you own an Apple device and share a WiFi network with another Apple device, in theory you can share files with coworkers, friends, or even total strangers. Used properly, it’s a handy productivity tool. Misused, you can wind up with sexually harassing images, viruses, or worse. So how do you keep teens from the risks of AirDrop?

With so much discovery to be made online, and so many kids’ apps to choose from, it can seem near impossible for us parents to keep up with our kids’ digital habits. One day they are chatting to their friends on Snapchat, and the next they’re on Instagram sharing carefully edited pictures of their #breakfast.

Two teens looking at a mobile phone together.

It’s easy for us to trivialize addiction. We joke that we’re addicted to TV shows, junk food, and a host of other products. But while addiction in a medical sense doesn’t really happen outside of narcotics, addiction in a psychological sense can happen with anything and to anybody. And teens, in particular, may be vulnerable to smartphone addiction, among other dangers, unless parental control apps are deployed. But why? And how can we break the cycle?

Girl with headphones around her neck and tablet in her hand.

When we think of hackers, we think of elaborate strings of code, ominously designed custom software, perhaps a little light electrical engineering. In reality, though, most “hackers” are just liars at an industrial scale. They write out a lie, such as your bank account is locked and you need to click this suspicious link to reactivate it, and blast it out to millions upon millions of people, in the hopes that one or two of them will fall for it. This is called “phishing” since that’s more of less what they’re doing; casting out a line and hoping to get a bite from a sucker. So, how can you keep your kids from being that sucker?

Two teen boys playing video games.

When in your home, the rules are the rules, your iPhone’s parental settings are ready, no arguments required. But kids don’t spend every single day inside the house, and as sleepovers and other social events start gathering on the calendar, you might be concerned that your kids aren’t following your rules. Here’s how to ensure that when kids jump in the car to go to a friend’s house, whether to study or to sleep over, the rules come with them.

How to protect your children from cybercriminals
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