Simplify Your Family's Digital Footprint for Better Online Security

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The term “cybersecurity” gets thrown around often — not to anyone’s surprise. From corporate enterprises to the family desktop, staying safe online is becoming more complex.

Cybercrime is the highest it's ever been, amounting to $6 trillion in damages as of 2022. Almost 60% of Americans feel their online privacy is no longer safe, as more than one in every two consumers has experienced a cyberattack.

To reduce their risks of exploitation, some families opt for expensive solutions like VPNs and security firewalls. Others try less effective workarounds (like deleting cookies) that they hope will throw malignant users off their trail. 

Truthfully, the best and most efficient way to maintain your family’s online security is through simplicity. And as National Simplicity Day draws even closer, now is the best time to think critically about your family’s online presence. 

Here’s how to untangle yourself from the internet by de-processing your digital life.

Protecting Yourself and Your Family in Five Steps

Simplicity and security aren’t necessarily the same thing, but in the wild west of the internet, they often go hand in hand. Get a head start on your family’s online security by moving through each stage below.

Cutting Back on Emails

The average person receives between 100 and 120 emails daily. According to experts, more than a third of those emails are never opened.

Too many emails destroy inbox zero in an instant. Worse, it overcomplicates your life with endless sales content and notifications.

Start thinking critically about the emails you want to keep versus ones that don’t deserve your time.

  • Block rather than unsubscribe from spam emails. This may be a phishing attempt.

  • If you’re unsubscribing from a lot of emails, use a tech pal like Unroll.Me

  • Be brutal! You can always resubscribe to emails later.

The more emails you unsubscribe to, the simpler (and safer) your inbox will be.

Choosing the Right Browser

People spend a whopping seven hours a day online, browsing through web pages, checking their emails, and otherwise shopping for the next best thing. And if you use a browser that focuses on third-party cookies and other data collecting tactics, that’s seven hours a day of selling your personal information.

Pick a browser that expressly avoids overreaches in privacy, opting for a safer and more straightforward system.

Recommendations include:

To keep things even simpler, use one browser across your devices.

Unsubscribing From Unused Services

If you’re not using a service regularly, why keep it around? If you’re not reaping the benefits, the company most certainly is. 

Not only do unused services sell personal information, but they also make it more challenging to live a simpler life.

  • Unused apps junk up phone screens.

  • Unwanted subscriptions drain cash while you sleep.

  • Unnecessary programs spam you with push notifications, making it harder to focus.

From the top, go through your monthly bank statement and clear out any unused services (websites, apps, subscriptions, tools, etc.). This should be done whether or not the platform is free to use.

Remember: if it’s free, you’re probably the product.

Minimizing Devices

The average household has more than 10 connected devices in their home — laptops, smartphones, desktops, TVs, tablets, home assistants, and more. And while connected devices certainly are helpful, they’re also gigantic privacy loopholes.

According to a recent study on smart devices, devices that were asked simple questions sent data to dozens of unnecessary end points.

  • Amazon’s Echo Dot contacted seven locations.

  • Roku’s Streaming Stick+ contacted eight locations.

  • Amazon’s Fire TV Stick contacted 11 locations.

A little variety with technology isn’t bad, but ask yourself: how many of these devices are just adding complexity to your life?

Pick a few of your favorites to keep around, then discard or sell the rest.

Recapturing Data Ownership

Now that you’ve significantly streamlined your technology, it’s time to simplify the most important part of your online presence — your data.

Start by:

Ready to go the extra mile? Companies like SayMine.com allow users to get back in touch with their digital footprint by tracking all assets at once.

Maintaining a Simplified Digital Footprint

While cleaning up your online impact is a great first start, maintaining simplicity over time is less than straightforward. After all, simplicity is a choice – not a destination. It takes a lot more work to simplify than it does to overcomplicate.

Remember: Securing your online footprint is one thing, but simplifying it is another. Continue to be mindful about your choices for yourself and your family, managing your digital footprint with one small solution at a time.

Tags: Personal Finance, Self Care, Technology

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Written By

Meagan Shelley

Meagan is a professional writer in VA who specializes in content marketing. See Full Bio

CircleAround is owned by One GS Media, a subsidiary of Girl Scouts of the USA, and we make financial distributions to benefit the next generation of Girl Scouts. We strive to make the world a better place by supporting each other today and emboldening the women leaders of tomorrow.

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