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Getting Your Teen Tech Ready for College

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Summer 2012 — Security News and Advice


You’ve settled on the school, come up with tuition, and now it’s time to send your teen off to college. If you are like many parents, you’ve tried to get them ready for any situation, but have you made sure they are tech ready?

You know your child will need a computer to keep up with their class work, and a phone to stay in touch, but you also need to know how to help them keep their devices and information safe. This means thinking about Internet security and data protection.

So, as you get ready to send your teen off into the big, wonderful world of college, here are some tech tips to keep in mind:

  • Protect your teen’s computer—Make sure to purchase security software from a reputable vendor, so your teen’s computer and information doesn’t go unprotected. Look for a product that includes antivirus and antispyware protection, as well as a two-way firewall to protect them from network threats.
  • When purchasing a phone—A lot of teens either already have a smartphone or will want a new one. Just keep in mind that smartphones are like mini computers and come with the same security risks. Just like on a computer, your teen could click on a dangerous link, or download a malicious application, so make sure that they have mobile security installed on their phone. Their mobile security software should include antivirus, anti-theft, web protection, app privacy, and call and text filtering, as well as the ability to remotely locate, lock, and wipe their data in case of loss or theft.
  • Teach your teen how to backup their data—It is always a good idea to back up data, in case data is lost or if a laptop is stolen. Choose an easy-to-use backup system so there are no excuses, and tell them to backup their data at least once a week.
  • Buy a computer lock—This is like a bike lock, but for your notebook. Your teen can lock their computer (by inserting the lock into their computer’s lock slot and affixing the attached cable to a table leg or other stable structure) when they are working at the library or in their dorm.
  • Educate your teen about downloading and sharing online—Your teen should know that downloading pirated software and music online is illegal, and that there are consequences if they are caught doing so, including fines and jail time.
    They should also know what kind of information it is safe to share on social networks, and be conscious of protecting their own reputation. (They shouldn’t post anything online that they wouldn’t want their grandmother or future employer to see!) It’s also important to emphasize that they should not share personally identifying information, which could compromise their Internet security and lead to identity theft.
  • Consider McAfee All Access to protect all your devices—Make security easy by choosing one product that can protect all your devices—PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets.
    McAfee® All Access offers comprehensive protection for computers and mobile devices that you can manage through one web-based console. This way your teen and the rest of your family can work, surf, shop, and interact online, knowing that you’re safe from hackers, scammers, and identity thieves.

Sending your teen off to college is exciting, but it can also be a little bit scary. Lessen your worries by taking time to make sure that your teen is tech ready and that their devices and information are safe.


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