Ten privacy tips for kids and teens

The internet is one of the most powerful tools kids and teens have to connect with friends, learn new ideas, and forge their own identities – but there are also risks to be aware of. 

Tips for kids, teens and whānau

Our rangatahi (young people) are more digitally savvy than ever. But they may not fully understand how their actions online can affect their privacy.

The good news is there are things we can all do to keep ourselves safe online. Kids and teens should know what these things are, what rights they have, and who they can talk to if they need help. Read on for some simple steps that parents and young people can take to protect personal information and stay safe online.

1. Chat about privacy and personal information

It’s important for kids and teens to know they can protect their privacy by being thoughtful about how they share personal information online. Parents and caregivers can help by explaining what personal information is and why it’s important to protect their privacy.

Personal information is any information that’s about you or could reveal who you are. It’s not just the obvious things, like your name, mobile phone number, or date of birth.

It can also include:

  • Video or voice recordings
  • Pictures of you or your whānau
  • Social media usernames
  • And much more – even the thoughts you share on social media or records of the things you search for online. 

Privacy is all about protecting this personal information.

And why is that so important? Once you’ve shared your personal information online, you no longer have control of it. So you need to be aware of what you’re sharing and trust who you share it with.

Personal information can also be incredibly valuable. For example, companies can use it to make money by building a profile of you and showing you ads they think you’ll like, to try and get you to buy something. Scammers can use personal information to commit fraud or even steal your identity.

The more we share online, the more our privacy is at risk. When we understand the value of our personal information and what can happen if we’re not careful, we’re more likely to make good choices about what we do and don’t share.

2. Know your rights

You have the right to ask any business or organisation for information they hold about you, and to correct it if it’s wrong. You can also change or remove the authority you’ve given to companies and organisations to use your personal information.

Call us on 0800 269 296, drop in to any branch, or change your details online in ANZ Internet Banking under ‘Your Settings’. Learn more in our privacy statement.

3. Create strong passwords

Strong passwords and PINs are one of the best ways to keep personal information safe. The longer your password is, the stronger it will be – such as a phrase from a song or poem. It should include upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters.

Don’t base passwords on things that are easy to guess, such as your home address, birth date, pet’s name, or simple number combinations like 0000 or 1234. It’s important to use different passwords for different apps, devices, and accounts. But you should never save these to your web browser. Instead, learn techniques for how to memorise your passwords so that you don’t have to write them down.

Remember that passwords, PINs, and two-factor authentication codes should never be shared with anyone, especially at school, work, or online. Take care when entering your PIN at an ATM or payment terminal, and when logging into ANZ goMoney or ANZ Internet Banking. 

If you think someone has (or may have) your ANZ password or PIN, call us right away on 0800 269 348 and we can help you to change it quickly and securely.

4. Practice safe and smart device use

Phones, tablets, and laptops aren’t just for sharing things – we use them to store personal information, too. So it’s important to secure your device with a strong PIN or password (or biometrics like FaceID or your fingerprint) as soon as you set it up. If your device gets into the wrong hands, someone could gain access to your social media accounts and emails, and post nasty or embarrassing photos, videos, and messages.

Keep your devices locked when you’re not using them, and always log out of websites and apps when you’re finished. Don’t make payments, access online banking, or do anything personal when using public WiFi as it may not be secure. Use your mobile or device data plan instead.

You might be tempted to click ‘Remind Me Later’ when you get a reminder to install an update, but updates help to protect against viruses and scams. Always install updates as soon as possible – an easy way to do this is to set up automatic updates.

5. Protect your cards

Debit cards make paying for things in store or online a breeze, but you don’t want them falling into the wrong hands. It’s important to keep your card safe when you’re online (and in real life). When you get a new card, the first thing you should do is sign the strip on the back. When it expires, cut it in half through the magnetic strip.

If your card gets lost or stolen, or someone else finds out your PIN, you must cancel your card immediately. If you have misplaced your card, but you think you know where it is (and you’re sure it hasn’t been lost or stolen), you can place a temporary block on your card in ANZ Internet Banking, or the ANZ goMoney app under ‘Manage cards’.

It’s a good idea to monitor your transaction history in Internet Banking or the goMoney app for any suspicious transactions. If you don’t recognise a payment to or from your account, or if anything looks unusual, get in touch with us right away.

6. Understand and update your privacy settings

Privacy settings help you control what kind of information a website or service can collect about you, as well as how they use it. Take a look at the privacy settings of any new app, software, game, or device (such as a mobile phone) before you start using it, and change the privacy settings if you’re not comfortable. For example, it’s a good idea to turn off your geolocation settings, as these can show strangers where you are without you even realising it.

We’re always changing, so what we were comfortable sharing yesterday might not be the case tomorrow. That’s why you should regularly review your privacy settings – for example, at the start of each school term.

The more we share online, the more our privacy is at risk. When we understand the value of our personal information and what can happen if we’re not careful, we’re more likely to make good choices about what we do and don’t share.

7. Click with care

It takes a split second to tap on a link, but the consequences can be serious – especially if you then provide any personal information, PINs, passwords, card details, and two-factor authentication codes. Think before you click so that you don’t become the victim of a scam or fraud. 

Instead of clicking on links or attachments in emails and text messages, type in the full address in the address bar (e.g. anz.co.nz) so you know you’re on the right site and not a fake one.

Only shop online and download apps from places you know and trust. If it looks dodgy, it probably is.

8. Only share what you need to

Many websites and apps require some personal information so that you can set up your account or profile. But you might not need to give away all your details.

Look carefully at what information is needed (such as a name and email address) and what information is optional (such as your birth date, home address, or gender).

The personal information you give may be used for more than simply setting up an account. It may be used for advertising or even sold to someone else. By only sharing what you need to, you can help protect your privacy online.

9. Pause before you post

Once you post something online, you no longer have control over it. Even if your profile is set to private, your post can be downloaded, shared, copied, edited, printed, or saved. It can stay online in some form forever. That’s why it’s so important to stop and think before posting on the internet, including your social media accounts. 

Ask yourself a few simple questions before posting:

  1. Who will see this?
  2. Am I comfortable with people I don’t know seeing or storing this information about me?
  3. Do I understand how this app or website could use this information about me?
  4. Am I posting the correct image, file, or information?

If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’ or ‘I don’t know,’ it’s a good idea not to post.

Remember, once you share information it can be used in ways you did not expect and cannot control. So treat other people’s information the way you would treat your own. That means having a think before you post information, photos, or videos about someone else. Parents, this includes posting about your kids or teens. By setting a good example when you’re online, you’ll be a role model for rangatahi when they’re wondering what’s OK to post.

10. Report anything suspicious

You might have heard the term ‘stranger danger’. But did you know it happens online too?

You should never accept friend requests from people you don’t know in real life. That ‘friend of a friend’ might just be a scammer in disguise.

Parents, encourage your kids or teens to report anything unusual, like if someone they don’t know sends them a message, or if they get a strange email.

If a young person in your life has accidentally shared something private or embarrassing, they need your support more than ever. Help them remove the post and talk with them about how they can avoid a similar mistake in future. If you get upset or stop them from using the internet, they may not come to you for help when it’s really serious.

Where to go for advice and help

If you have a problem online, it’s important to know that help is out there. Parents, encourage the young people in your life to speak up right away, and make sure they understand what support is available if they don’t feel comfortable telling an adult they know.

Chat to us at ANZ

If you ever need help banking safely online, we’re just a phone call away on 0800 269 296

You can also find helpful information and practical tips in our guide to banking safely. From ways to keep your identity secure to how to spot a scam, it’s your go-to guide for staying safe online.

Websites and resources

Important information

This page is for your information only. ANZ does not warrant the quality of goods or services provided by third parties, or their suitability for your particular circumstances. To the extent the law allows, we don’t accept any responsibility for any loss you suffer from using or acquiring goods or services provided by a third party.