And do you know how to find them?
It’s a scary digital world for parents. There seems to be about as much control over kids’ accounts and digital information as control of the weather. So how do we keep our kids safe – and keep tabs on their accounts?
Know Your Rights
There are laws, as provided for by COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Act of 1998), that regulate what our kids are able to do online. It addresses such things as waiting until at least age 13 to get a Facebook account and prohibiting marketers from targeting kids younger than that age. But there is a whole lot of grey area – and we have a whole lot of things we need to do on our parts.
We have to ask ourselves this uncomfortable question: If something happens to my child (injury, illness, death), could I access my child’s technology?
Could you unlock the phone or laptop? Open emails? Find IDs and passwords for all social media accounts? The reality is that the law does not protect parents and their children. If you don’t have access now, tech companies aren’t necessarily going to give it to you if you need it. In recent years, parents have been battling, unsuccessfully, to access their kids’ accounts. So a platform like Facebook won’t allow you access to your child’s account in case of an emergency. They are just now rolling out options in the US for people to establish “Legacy” settings. The laws are behind the technology, and we have to take steps to organize our kids’ digital information.
Organizing Your Child’s Digital Information
Every family needs to find a method that works for the ages and responsibility levels of their kids. The point is to do something today so your child’s digital footprint doesn’t walk away from you.
We use them every day. To lock our doors, start our cars, and unlock an assortment of "valuable" spaces. And we've all probably had those panicked moments where we just can't find our keys (or remember which key belongs to which lock). Keys are essential to so many aspects of our lives. Yet we somehow just take for granted that we'll always remember what each key unlocks, and when needed, that others will understand our methods for key chain madness.
The "Key" to Your Organization
When we think of organization we often think of closets, attics, and messes lurking on our desks and under beds. But the reality is that our keys can be just as chaotic. I've had the privilege of learning a few tips of the key-trade from Brittany Carlson of Bonded Lock and Key which can help us all unlock a few doors to better organization.
If you use a code on your key labels, be sure to have a decoder in with your personal files, and if you have your digital passwords recorded somewhere, include details about your physical keys. If someone should have to access your property on your behalf, you don't want that person to have to scramble through key-chain chaos, especially in an emergency. Brittany says that unfortunately they receive many calls from people who are responsible for taking care of a loved one's belongings, but can't find the key or the safe combination.
And one more tip for you if you have a set of mystery keys you carry "just in case". Places such as Bonded Lock and Key can look at your keys and tell you what kind of locks they fit and how many duplicates you might actually have. Still searching for more ways to organize your keys and other crucial pieces of your everyday life? Give me a call or send me a message and I'll help you find your own "key" to organization!
There are days I feel that I have a foot in the world of digital money management, and the other foot firmly planted in old school ways! Recently one of my helpers commented that he didn't even understand WHY people needed checks. Lightbulb moment for me - I do use online and mobile banking, but write checks as well. I can't envision not having checks, and the younger generation can't see their purpose.
Obviously there is a place for both, and people need to do what is comfortable for them. Not everyone trusts the cloud, and that's OK. Do I think there is still a need to keep 7 years worth of bank statements? Not really. I don't keep any - and I'm OK with that!
The key, in my opinion, to digital financial management, is an excellent password keeper system. Literally every site we log on to requires a password, and if you're dealing with finances you want it to be secure (so please, don't use the same password for everything!). For joint accounts and families we need a way to share passwords. Most of us just need a way to REMEMBER passwords (OK, maybe it's just me....I NEED help remembering!) to keep us from getting frustrated trying to log in to our accounts.
An "old school" solution is a password book - a small spiral notebook perhaps, or a book specifically for recording passwords. There are also downloadable sheets like these watercolor art ones from Etsy as well as many free ones.
A higher tech password keeper is LastPass, or other similar "in the cloud" solutions. I've been using LastPass personally and professionally for 3 years (and no, I don't receive any royalties from suggesting it to you!). Pros are that it is accessible from whatever device I'm on, including mobile, and I am able to share log ins with other LastPass users (essential when collaborating on finances with spouses and college-aged adult children).
Most password manager programs will also automatically save websites and logins, as well as generate secure, unique logins. Cons are, well, in my world I can only think of one - if you forget your MAIN password to get into the manager. Then you are truly S-O-L if you haven't written it down somewhere! My suggestion would be to share that password with someone you'd trust with your life - this is the person I would assume will be managing one's affairs after a death.
A hybrid approach, with a foot in each world, would be something like an Excel spreadsheet or Google doc. A shared access Excel file with all of the accounts and passwords and answers to secret questions, etc. Everything is in one spot for whomever needs it.
Do you use digital banking services? What helped you make the switch? I'd love to hear your comments and experiences!
It's not just our closets that need some shoe racks and our garages some deep cleaning. Our digital lives need as much attention to organization and efforts to wrangle in our chaos. This March we're going to tackle that world we don't necessarily like to remember exists - the one where our digital footprints are sometimes leading all over the place.
What is a Digital Footprint?
Every time you go online, send an email, or visit a webpage, you are leaving a digital trail full of digital footprints. Some of these trails are ones you choose to leave - like dropping breadcrumbs - while others are unintentional and you might not even know they are there.
Breadcrumb Trails: Examples include when you post on Facebook, write a blog, leave a comment for a product review, upload a picture or file, pay your bills online, and send emails. You intentionally leave these trails (even if we're not always thinking of it like that).
Unintentional Trails: Examples of these are data traces and information gathered about your search habits, online purchases, browsing history, and clicks on hidden links. These trails are the ones responsible for popping up adds in July on your Facebook news-feed based on what you shopped for last Christmas.
The Denver Post performed a survey which revealed that 75% of US adults who searched for information about themselves online found unfavorable results. Those are the footprints we don't want to leave behind. Maybe that political rant you posted (tempting some days), or that picture from the family reunion - you know the one.
Types of Digital Footprints
You leave different kinds of footprints, with different kinds of information. Let's divide these into three general categories.
Digital Organization - More than Shoe Racks
Wouldn't it be nice if we could just invest in some amazing shoe racks and our digital footprints would be organized and present the best versions of us online? But just like our closets won't clean themselves, even with sparkling new shoe racks, we have to continuously take steps to keep our digital footprints leading in the right direction.
And yes, it is exhausting. And terrifying. Especially if you have kids and you have to worry about their digital footprints, too. We're going to take it one step at a time. We'll cover those three categories of digital footprints and give you tips along the way for organizing your data. So wiggle your toes and get ready to jump in - feet first. Next week is all about digital management and password protection.
welcome to our blog!
Tammy Schotzko is a Certified Professional Organizer who