Advantages of using an avatar instead of a profile photo

Learn about: Advantages of using an avatar instead of a profile photo from Theresa M. Payton,...
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Advantages of using an avatar instead of a profile photo

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So a concept I really like for parents to think about using, especially if your kids are in that 5 to age 16 range, is the concept of using an avatar instead of their actual picture. There's a couple of reasons for this. First of all, typically in pictures, we don't realize we leave subtle clues about ourselves which allows predators, internet identity thieves and others to actually pick-up and act like they know us and be familiar to us. Things like a school emblem on a uniform, or sports uniform, or pictures of us in front of our church or different places we are, are all clues that allows somebody to act more familiar to your kids than they really are. The next piece is you don't always want, depending on which media site they're on, for someone to know if they're a young boy, a young girl, you don't necessarily want them to be able pick up their age, and so that's why I love this concept of the avatar. Picking a favorite character or superhero; it could be a flower or a cake, it could be a sports figure; and using that avatar because you are now reinforcing to your kids, "You don't have to be out, front and center, every detail of your life online and you can put some up that identifies you but doesn't let people who aren't known to you pick-up on clues to try and target you." So avatars can be a lot of fun. Your kids are going to have a great time with them and it's a great way to also protect them from other things that could happen online.

Learn about: Advantages of using an avatar instead of a profile photo from Theresa M. Payton,...

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Theresa M. Payton

National Cyber Security Expert

Theresa Payton is a well-known and highly respected national authority on cybersecurity, e-crime and fraud mitigation, and technology implementation. She has over twenty years of advanced business and security technology expertise and leadership at the highest levels of government and in the financial services industry, including being the first woman to serve as Chief Information Officer at the White House.  She is a wife and mother to three fabulous and fun kids.  She is also the co-author of the newly released book Protecting Your Internet Identity: Are You Naked Online? and the founder of the S.A.F.E. Kids initiative - a classroom-based, digital safety program.

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