Web-savvy family: Should we take a spring break from our electronic devices?
By now we know we need to keep tabs on our passports and credit cards when we’re travelling, but today we carry much more with us – laptops, smartphones, tablets, eReaders, etc. So this March Break, when you’re packing up the kids and headed somewhere hot, know it’s as much about the journey as it is the destination.
Statistically, it turns out that many of our vacation destinations have much higher rates of cybercrime than in Canada. According to the 2012 Norton Cybercrime Report, 75 per cent of online adults in Mexico have been victims of cybercrime. From online travel scams to smartphone thefts, we need to protect ourselves and our families from more than just UV rays.
Take a vacation from your devices
As I say this, I know that for me, this just isn’t realistic. My devices store my books, music and much more. And my daughter loves using my devices to read and play games. Luckily, we have a good balance at my home, but a screen break could be in order for your family.
Watch where you connect
Some of our tablets, eReaders and smartphones are set to automatically connect to the Internet, which can be potentially dangerous. I’d suggest being awareof when and where you’re connecting to a network. Are you downloading content? Are you or your children’s devices roaming and going to end up costing you more than your getaway? Are you logged into a public Wi-Fi signal?
I know that it can be tempting to make online purchases and check bank account balances while you lounge by the pool to see if you can buy that purse after all, but these hotspots can be virtual alleyways for “pick-pocketing” cybercriminals. Protect your information and don’t access sensitive information until you're on a protected network.
Back up your life
Remember to back up your pictures. Last fall, I actually lost hundreds of the pictures on my phone! And I’m supposed to practice what I preach, right?
You never know when your kids are going to press the wrong button one too many times and wipe your device. So here is a friendly reminder to back up your devices before and after your trip.
My best advice of all is to have fun - you’ve earned the break.
Lynn Hargrove is the Director of Consumer Solutions for Symantec Canada