Consumers Want More Security Advice to be Given to Children Using Social Network Sites

Legal & General’s home insurance team has published the Digital Criminal 2012: CyberSafety Report. The research identified that 88% of consumers want more security advice to be given to children using social network sites. It’s important that children, as well as adults, use sites safely and do not put themselves, their homes and family at risk. Risks can include the sites users visit, the information they post online and also connecting with strangers, who could be digital criminals using social networking sites to gain personal information about their targets.

Security in the home can be affected by what we do online and also by what our children do online. Whether it is the disclosure of personal information, family holiday plans, or the details of a parent’s business travel, child users can unwillingly create security problems. Educating them about the risks and instilling good practices from an early age is important.

How to improve family online safety

While buildings and contents insurance [ ] are necessary precautions for protecting your home, vigilance is also valuable. As a first step, Legal & General recommend that internet users review their own and their children’s online footprint and carry out ‘virtual housekeeping’, to keep the amount of personal information available on them limited. This will help to reduce the risk of being a target for criminals and will reduce the likelihood of having to claim on your home insurance in case of burglary.

Mark Johnson of The Risk Management Group, helped Legal & General with the latest Digital Criminal Report, and produced a really helpful guide for children and teachers to improve understanding and emphasise the importance of online security. More details and a copy of the Guide are available to download at

Here are five helpful tips that parents can follow to encourage a safer online experience for children:

    1) Controls: Almost all PCs and web browsers feature parental control
      settings, which filter out inappropriate content. Make sure these are activated to the
      highest practical settings, but also be aware that some adult content can still get
    2) Online friends: Social networking is widely used these days. However, despite
      being a feature of everyday life, it is not without its risks, particularly for
      younger users. Teach your child never to connect to strangers, and not to take online
      photos at face value. Try to join their network if possible - this is a great way to
      monitor what they are up to online.
    3) Privacy: As well as keeping an eye on who your child connects to online, it
      is also important to establish tight privacy settings and limit what information is
      published. Addresses, email addresses and ages should never be posted online, and make
      sure that accounts are only visible to those your child is friends with in real life.
    4) Guiding: Mentoring is one of the best forms of instruction, so be your
      child's guide to the online world and teach them about its wonders, but also how to
      stay safe.
    5) Example setting: Role models are also great influencers in our lives, for
      both the young and old. A great way to teach your child about internet safety is to
      lead by example.


More detail of Legal & General’s research findings and the risks that social media users face, as well as what this could mean for your home and contents insurance policy, are outlined in the Digital Criminal 2012; CyberSafety Report.

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