If you get virtual private server (VPS) hosting, you’re instantly better protected than with a basic shared plan. Obviously, nearly every type of site can benefit from more security—especially considering there are thousands of data breaches every year. You can probably quickly tick off some of the obvious niches, such as banking sites or sites that hold your medical information. But what about kid-friendly sites? There are a number of sites that might store information about your children, and if that information gets leaked and into the wrong hands, there’s no telling what may happen.
The most obvious of these sites belong to school districts or individual schools. Now that many schools ask children to submit homework online and/or for parents to check in with teachers online, there’s more and more data about your children potentially being stored here. In these instances, it can include their entire class schedule, social security number and birthday, phone numbers, emails, and address. If you manage the site for a K-12 school, do you know the quality of your web hosting company?
The New Child Safety
There are also a number of game and entertainment sites that you might trust completely because they pass your parental control tests. However, if your child is storing information on these sites, what would happen if a hacker got it? In some cases, your child might be storing very personal information here as it pertains to building a profile or creating a simulated game. This can include names of pets (common passwords names, unfortunately), real addresses, and information that can help criminals who target children to establish trust.
In addition to making sure you regularly check your child’s accounts, also make sure the web hosting company the site depends on has a solid reputation. You can’t be too safe. It might seem innocent enough if your child shares the name of their teacher or what they’ll be dressing up as for Halloween next year, but any clues to where your child is can open them up for vulnerable situations. As the owner/manager of a website frequented by kids, it’s your job to keep them as safe as possible.
Not All Kid Sites are “Obvious”
You should (hopefully!) be able to quickly list the websites your child visits regularly. But there are some sites you forget about—like where they register for summer camp every year. These types of sites obviously have a lot of information about your child and family. Take a look at your browser history for the past year and you’ll be surprised by just how many places you’ve likely shared information about your child (or how many sites they’ve been on, even with your permission!).
Each of these sites should be double checked for security. Find out how many breaches there have been, if any, and the authentication methods necessary to get into accounts. It might be apparent by the basic layout of some sites that they’re tempting for hackers, but think broader. The right web host can help make your site safe and appealing to parents and families.