17/06/2024

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Family Travel: Stay Secure Online

5 min read
Family Travel: Stay Secure Online

Travelling with children means finding ways to entertain them on the go. Journeys can be long and single parents’ nerves frayed, so it’s good to pack a few travel toys to entertain the kids on holiday and also to keep them calm during the journey. Electronic gadgets often hold kids’ attention for longer than traditional toys, but they can use up a lot of precious data. So, if you can connect to a free Wi-Fi network on the train or in an airport lounge, that’s a bonus.

The problem with public Wi-Fi networks is that they are often not secure, exposing your data to hackers. According to a survey by Forbes, airports, cafés, and restaurants are the most common areas where people fall victim to having their data hacked via public networks. But there are ways around this. Yet with a little technological help and plenty of vigilance, you and your kids can stay secure online and enjoy a stress-free single parent holiday. Here is how:

Use a virtual private network (VPN)

First of all, you could try to install a virtual private network (“VPN”) on all of your family’s devices that you are planning to take on holiday. This creates a secure internet connection, essentially making public Wi-Fi private. VPNs can be installed not only on computers and laptops, but also tablets and smartphones, so you and the kids can stay secure online whether you have to access work data, or they want to play games or watch films on the go.

Unfortunately, a VPN alone is not a silver bullet for online protection. It essentially masks your online activity over public networks, making it harder for third parties to access or steal your data.

Are VPNs legal in the UK? They absolutely are. But you will need to check the rules in other countries because some do restrict the use of VPNs Whether or not you are able to use VPNs, there are other things that you can and should do to make sure you and your children stay safe online.use VPN to stay secure online when travelling with kids

Update your systems and settings before travelling

Updating your devices, systems, and software might not be at the top of your pre-trip checklist. But these updates are usually released to “patch” security holes that are a result of newly discovered threats. Hackers often target devices running older versions of software, as they have worked out the software’s weaknesses.

Downloading updates before travelling will also be easier and more secure than using mobile data or public Wi-Fi. You might want to set up automatic updates in the weeks and days before setting off just to make sure your family’s devices are all up to speed when your holiday starts.

Another tip that will help your family to stay secure online is to go into your devices’ settings and disable the auto-connect to Wi-Fi function. This way, you won’t automatically connect to suspicious networks while on the go.

Back up your data

Regularly backing up your data provides a safety net should something go wrong. Having all data backed up, gives you the option of re-setting a device that gets hacked. Equally, it means that you will be able to get up to speed much quicker if you need to replace a device that malfunctions, is lost, or is stolen.

If you are keeping key information on your phone, tablet, or laptop, make sure that backups are carried out regularly, so that you do not run the risk of arriving at your destination without access to your hotel details or emergency details, for example.stay secure online when travelling with kids taking photos on holiday

Stay alert to your surroundings

It’s natural to sometimes let your guard down when travelling, especially if you are going on a single parent holiday with one or more children. Nevertheless, it’s important to remain alert of your surroundings, and that includes keeping an eye on the devices and people around you.

Do not leave any of your gadgets lying around whilst travelling. Instead keep them with you, at all times or in a secure place, such as a safe in your locked hotel room. If you’re using any devices out in the open, be conscious of people sitting near you and peeking over your shoulder. Screen protectors can help block visibility in tighter spaces.

Remember that it’s best practice to keep your devices protected with a password and/or PIN and log out of accounts and apps when you’re not using them. Similarly, keep a close eye on what your children are doing while using connected devices. Setting up family profiles can limit certain actions, such as your kids’ making in-app purchases.

Educate your children

Depending on your kids’ ages, you might already have taken the step of teaching your children the basic principles of cyber security. Being upfront with your children is the best way to ensure they understand the need to be cautious when using their phones or tablets on holiday.

Explain the role smart devices are likely to play whilst travelling. Having a gadget on hand may seem the ideal way of passing the time during your journey or at the holiday resort. It is, however, not always appropriate, or advisable having your smart devices in your back pocket or hand: Situations such as moving through a busy airport or sitting in an open town square can provide opportunities for thieves and hackers. Encourage your kids to think about when it is safe to have their gadget in full view of others.children watching film on tablet on holiday

Have an emergency plan

Make sure you have a plan in case one of your family’s devices does get stolen or hacked on your single parent holiday. To this end, it’s wise to install location tracking on as many of your family’s devices as you can, so that you can provide that information in the event of theft.

Being able to remotely wipe data from a device is another smart move. Just make sure your data is backed up elsewhere.

Last but not least, it helps to have emergency contacts written down and stored in a wallet the old-fashioned way. This ensures that you can then reach someone if multiple devices go missing or are compromised.

We hope that our tips on how to stay secure online on your next holiday with kids was helpful. Online safety can be a real challenge, especially when you have older children, but there are ways you can protect your family’s devices and data. Continue to educate yourself and your children and use your common sense, and you won’t have to worry about falling victim to online predators or scams.

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