Is Your Teenager’s Smartphone Making Them Vulnerable To Cybercrime?

Find out if your Teenager’s Smartphone is at risk! If you are a parent, keeping your family safe in the digital world is an endless task. There are new threats everyday. Hackers, scammers, and Cybermonsters lurk around every corner of the cyber world, trying to get your most precious information.

Teens are even more susceptible to online dangers because they may not sense danger or may recognize their overall impact. An inexperienced teen can easily become the next victim of cybercrime or identity theft.

Unfortunately, parents and families sometimes feel safe and secure when it comes to cybercrime. After all, why would someone want to hack a teen or family. As opposed to a large enterprise with massive amounts of data? The reality is that cybercriminals actually view an individual or family’s data as being easier. And more cost-effective to take advantage of. This is because home networks are generally less secure than corporate ones. Making them prime targets for multiple small scale attacks rather than one big attack.

Cybermonsters utilize the dark web marketplace to purchase downloadable kits that enable them to perpetrate these small-scale hacks. The kits make it easy for anyone. From even amateur hackers, to seasoned criminals. Alike, to cast wide nets that ensnare vast quantities of information. Often containing personal identifiers such as date of birth, social security numbers and credit card information. In many cases the stolen data can then be used either by the criminal themselves in identity theft fraud crimes, or sold on so other criminals can use it as well.

Let’s assess whether your teen (Teenager’s Smartphone) is at risk:

  • Does your teenager have a phone?  
  • Do you have controls in place to monitor what your teens do in their smartphones?  
  • Do you have conversations with your teenager about the many hazards present in the cyber world?  

Having a smartphone automatically means that Cybermonsters are trying to get into their phone. So let’s talk about some steps you can take to prevent them from becoming a victim of cybercrime and identity theft.  

Teenager's Smartphone

Why are Teenager’s Smartphone attractive to Cybermonsters?

Teenagers’ phones are attractive to Cybermonsters. Because they often contain a wealth of information about the user, including their personal details, passwords, and credit card numbers. As more and more teenagers use their mobile devices for social media activities, online gaming, and online banking, there is an increased risk of theft of this data. 

Hackers can gain access to a device by installing malicious software or exploiting known vulnerabilities in the operating system. If the phones are outdated. Once they gain access to the phone. Hackers may be able to collect stored payment details or browse through messages and call logs.

Additionally, teenagers can be easy targets for cybercriminals because they are less likely to be aware of potential security threats. Or take measures to ensure their online safety. Teenagers can unknowingly put themselves at risk by sharing too much personal information online. Or falling for phishing scams that lead to identity theft or financial fraud. 

Cybercriminals could also use teenagers’ lack of technical cybersecurity knowledge. And their over confidence as they grew-up using technology as an opportunity to spread malware or ransomware on their phones. Without it being detected quickly. And most of the time not reported to parents or family members for fear of losing access to their devices.

3 signs that your teen’s phone is vulnerable to a cyber attack

It goes without saying that. As a parent or guardian, you want to protect your teenager. However, in order to do that, you must be aware of what vulnerabilities exist. Here are a few:

Your teen hasn’t set up a PIN on their phone.

Without a passcode, pattern, fingerprint or face recognition your teenager’s phone lacks the most basic security feature. And Cybermonsters can easily get your teenager’s information for nefarious purposes. 

Your teen installs free apps.

Nothing is really free. So when your teen downloads free apps from third party stores or from sketchy websites. They are actually trading their information – and yours! Additionally, free apps are often unreliable in terms of quality and may not perform as expected. Therefore, it is important to only encourage them to download apps from official stores. Where they have been reviewed and verified for safety and reliability.

Your teen jailbreaks or roots their phone or devices.

Jailbreaking or rooting a phone or device removes the manufacturer’s software restrictions. Allowing users to gain access to the entire operating system and all its settings. This can be very risky. Because it gives users access to certain system files that can interfere with the phone’s regular functioning. It also means that there is no longer any kind of protection against malicious programs and malware. Which could put your personal information at risk. Additionally, rooting or jailbreaking your phone may void its warranty should something go wrong with it.

Meaning, if your teen were to remove the restrictions or safeguards provided by the manufacturer. Or operators to install apps that aren’t authorized, they would also remove the security layers on the device, which is extremely dangerous! 

 1. How to Prevent Cyber Attacks on Your Teenager’s Smartphone

2. Is Your Teen’s Phone Making Them Vulnerable To Cybercrime?

For all these reasons, it is important for teenagers to understand the importance of cyber security and take steps to protect themselves from hackers and cyber criminals.

What are parental tools or content filters?

A parent’s tools or content filters for a teen’s mobile device can be thought of as a castle wall. This wall is designed to protect the device and its users from any malicious viruses or cyber threats and attacks. Just like a castle, the parent’s tools must stay strong and firm against all threats, no matter how small they may seem, in order to keep the teen safe from all harm.

Setting up these parental tools is important because they act as a first line of defense, providing an extra layer of security to prevent any unauthorized access and safeguard personal information on the device and promote internet safety.

Content filtering also ensures that teenager’s daily lives are not exposed to any inappropriate content that could be detrimental to their development. It is essential for parents to take necessary measures to secure their teen’s mobile devices with parental tools in order to keep them safe from cyber threats and make sure they have access only to age-appropriate content, for example, internet pornography.

Some antivirus software include content filtering options and parental tools that can be setup for the whole family. You could also choose to set up your internet browser and the phones using the parental tools included in your cell phone operating system or software. iOS for Apple devices and Android for other phones. 

Do phone usage contracts work?

My friend Mike, who is a lawyer and specializes in Privacy Law, created a contract with the boundaries, restrictions, and penalties for his teens to have a phone, and his teens decided to sign the contract. This simple tool started an engaging dialogue in their family.

Contracts or written agreements do not work for everyone, though. The pressure of a contract could create anxiety in your teenager, while providing a false sense of security for parents. Family conflicts arise when contracts are broken.

Only you know your family and your relationship with your kids. There is a delicate balance between privacy, trust, and keeping your kids safe online. My mom was an overprotective parent to a point that our relationship was affected for many years until I understood all the dangers she was trying to shield me from.

Helping Teens Protect Their Phone and Themselves - Happily Ever Cyber! - Way 2 Protect Cybersecurity Expert Sandra Estok

Helping Teens Protect Their Phone and Themselves

Ultimately, your teenager will be solely responsible to keep themselves safe online and offline. However, you can ensure your teenager’s phone is protected and cultivate online behavior by asking them to take these 3 simple steps:

ADD a PIN, passcode, enabled fingerprint, or face recognition on their phone

so the phone locks down when not in use. Setting a pin on your phone is important to protect it from unwanted access. It keeps your data safe and secure and prevents anyone else from making unauthorized changes or accessing sensitive information such as bank accounts or passwords. Additionally, by setting a pin you can make sure that if your phone is lost or stolen, it cannot be used until the correct pin is entered.

EDUCATE your teenagers about the dangers of free apps

And encourage them to only download apps from official stores. It is important to educate your teenagers about the dangers of free apps because many of them contain malicious software, such as viruses and other types of malware, that can cause harm to devices and steal their information. 

PROMOTE cyber knowledge at home and be a role model showing your family what safety looks like

For example, you could schedule time to  reduce security vulnerabilities and update your smart phones as a family on a regular basis. Teenagers should update their cell phones regularly because this ensures that the device has the latest features and security patches. Additionally, updating your smart device can help you stay connected with friends and family members more easily by having access to new apps, games, and other social media platforms. Updates also ensure that your device runs smoothly and efficiently, which can reduce lag time when using applications.

These practices will help you become more confident and empowered in your role as a protector and will keep the Cybermonsters at bay!

When it comes to protecting your teens (Teenager’s Smartphone) from cyber threats, communication is key

Talk to your teen about their online activities, internet safety and remind them of the potential risks associated with using their phone. Encourage them to be Intentional, Aware and Mindful of their online presence and regularly review settings on their phone and social media profiles so they can stay aware of changes or new privacy features that may affect how safe their device is.

You may also like to read:- What is Cyberbullying? | Sandra Estok

Why are software and app updates important to you? Sandra Estok

What to Do When Your Phone Is Lost or Stolen: A Comprehensive Guide

Live Happily Ever Cyber!

Sandra Estok, CEO and Founder of Way2Protect | Happily Ever Cyber!

Sandra Estok

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