NordVPN vs ExpressVPN: Comparison Review 2020

Today, we’re comparing two titans of the VPN industry: NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN. Both have a plethora of privacy provisions and excellent performance for their price, but ultimately only one will best satisfy your needs. Read on to get a comprehensive rundown of their benefits and features, plus exclusive discounts on each provider’s subscription plans.

If you pay attention to the world of internet security, then you’ll have heard many people talk about the importance of using a VPN to enhance your security and preserve your privacy online. With increasing monitoring of internet use and electronic communications by groups ranging from the government to copyright lawyers, it’s now more important that ever to take steps to keep yourself safe while you use the internet. And a VPN is the best way to do this.

It can be hard to choose a VPN provider, however. With hundreds of VPN providers out there, you may not know which one would best suit your needs. Here are Addictive Tips we often provide recommendations for the best VPNs for various needs, and two of our regular favourites are NordVPN and ExpressVPN. If you’ve narrowed down your options for a provider to these two, you might be wondering how they compare to each other in terms of features, ease of use, and reliability. This is the topic that we’ll be discussing today in our article on NordVPN vs ExpressVPN: which is the best VPN?

Do I Need a VPN?

As we mentioned, the two primary reasons to use a VPN are to protect your privacy and to enhance your internet safety. Another reason to use a VPN is so that you can accessing region locked content such as streaming services – for example, so you can use BBC iPlayer from outside of the UK or use the Hotstar streaming service from outside India.

If you’re considering getting a VPN for the first time then you might be tempted to use a free VPN to save some cash. However, free VPNs actually make you less safe, and the VPNs promoted by companies like Facebook are not to be trusted. Instead, you should use a reliable and trustworthy independent VPN such as NordVPN or ExpressVPN.

NordVPN vs ExpressVPN: REVIEW

NordVPN and ExpressVPN are both great VPNs that meet all of our key requirements like an excellent level of security, a large server network, and software that can be installed on a range of devices. Either provider will keep you safe by hiding your IP address while you browse and preventing anyone from tracking or recording your internet activity. Both services have no bandwidth limits, so you can use them as much as you want without worrying about hitting a traffic cap. And both can be used to secure all types of traffic, like VoIP calls using Skype or IM communications as well as internet browsing.

There are some factors which set these two services apart, however. Below we’ll compare the two services in terms of these important features.

Connection Speeds

When using a VPN, you want a provider that has fast connection speeds so that your browsing and downloading won’t be slowed down by your VPN. If you like to stream a lot of video, especially if you often stream in high definition, then you’ll want fast connection speeds to prevent lag or buffering issues.

Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN offer connections that are fast enough to handle everyday use including streaming high definition videos. But ExpressVPN tends to pip NordVPN in terms of offering the fastest connections for when you’re downloading large files. They even include a built-in speed test to help you dial in an optimal connection.

Size And Breadth Of Server Network

It’s helpful to have a VPN which offers you access to a large number of servers, so you can easily find a server that is fast enough and reliable enough to meet your needs. In addition, you want to have access to servers in as many countries as possible, so that you can connect to many different locations in order to get around region locks.

Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN have extremely large server networks with many servers in many different countries, so both providers score well in this category. ExpressVPN has over 3,000 servers in 94 different countries, including key locations like the US, Canada, UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Unusually, ExpressVPN also has servers in African countries including Kenya, South Africa, and Algeria, which is helpful for maximum flexibility.

NordVPN, however, has an even larger server network, with an incredible 5,100+ servers located in 59 different countries. These include servers in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and India, with all the most frequently required server locations included. A full list of servers, including information about special servers for P2P use or obfuscated servers is available if interested.

Security Including Double Encryption

The security offered by both services is excellent. They both use strong 256-bit encryption which is military grade and which is highly difficult to crack. In addition, both companies have a no logging policy, which means that they will never record information about your internet use. This way, even if the company were forced to hand over their data by a government order, there would be no information about your internet use to be seen.

There is an additional feature offered by NordVPN that ExpressVPN doesn’t have though, and that is double encryption. This means that your data is encrypted before it leaves your device and is then sent to a first server. At this server, the data is encrypted again and sent on to a second server. At the second server, the data is decrypted and sent on to its original destination. These two layers of encryption are essentially impossible to crack, making NordVPN the best choice for someone who wants the absolute highest level of security.

Use On Restricted Sites

Another reason to use a VPN is to access content from around the world. Lots of streaming sites have regional restrictions, like how the BBC iPlayer is only available to watch within the UK, or the Hulu streaming service is only available within the US. But with a VPN you can easily access content from anywhere in the world. You just connect to a server in the country you want to appear to be browsing from (e.g. the UK to use iPlayer) then you’ll be able to watch the content there as if you were in the region of restriction.

However, not all VPNs work on all sites. Some sites, like Netflix, have sophisticated software to detect and block VPN connections. The good news is that both NordVPN and ExpressVPN are two of the best services for use on restricted sites, and both work on Netflix, Hulu, iPlayer, and other sites with VPN detection.

NordVPN just about wins this comparison though, thanks to its SmartPlay feature which combines some of the features of Smart DNS with a VPN service so it can be used on practically any streaming service you can think of.

Quality of VPN Software

A factor that can make a big difference in how pleasant it is to use a VPN on a day to day basis is the quality of the software. So we’ll compare the user experience of the ExpressVPN and NordVPN software for desktop.

The ExpressVPN software aims for simplicity, with a home screen that has just one large button to connect the VPN, and two smaller buttons to choose the location which you connect to, either by selecting a location from a list or using the smart location feature. If you open up the menu by clicking in the top left, you’ll find extra options like a speed test to help you find the fastest server, or a DNS leak test and IP address checker so that you can check whether your connection is working and is secure.

In addition, there is also an option to view diagnostic information to help you fix any problems that you might come across. Overall the software has all the basics that you need but not a lot in the way of frills.

The NordVPN software looks similarly simple when you first open it, with a visual map of the world that you can use to connect to a server in the country of your choice. However, there are many more features available in this software. On this main screen, in addition to the map you’ll also find options to search for a location and information about your currently visible IP address.

The countries tab lets you sort and search servers, plus browse a list of speciality servers for particular purposes – like anti DDoS, dedicated IP, double VPN, onion over VPN, and P2P. The settings tab has a set of basic and advanced settings including a cyber security feature to eliminate ads and protect you from malware, an internet kill switch, options for customising your notifications, the protocol to use, custom DNS, and diagnostic information.

The software is impressive as it is both easy to use for a beginner, while still having all the detailed features that an advanced user would want.

Platforms Supported & Browser Extensions

One last factor that you should consider before choosing a VPN is what platforms are supported. As long as software support is available for your devices, you can use your one VPN account to protect your computers, phone, tablet, and even smart TV, games console, or other devices. That’s why it’s useful to choose a VPN provider who offers software for all of the platforms that you use. In addition, some VPN providers offer browser extensions which are a convenient way to quickly connect to a server while you are browsing the internet.

NordVPN has software available for lots of different devices, like the most common operating systems of Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, and Linux. It also has instructions available for how to install the software onto many other devices including Windows Phone, Raspberry Pi, and a wide range of routers. You can also use the browser extensions which are available for Chrome and Firefox.

ExpressVPN also offers support for a big range of devices, including the essentials of Windows, Android, iOS, Mac, and Linux. In addition it has support for games consoles like the Playstation and Xbox, and other devices like AppleTV and Amazon FireTV. It also has browser extensions available for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.

Which VPN Is Best?

Whether NordVPN or ExpressVPN is best depends upon your particular requirements.

  • If you want a simple to use VPN which works with no fuss and can be installed on a massive range of devices, Netflix access, solid performance and some of the fastest servers in the VPN industry — then you should use ExpressVPN.
  • But if you are an advanced user who wants special features like double encryption, the ability to access region locked content even when VPN blocking is in place, and advanced software which lets you tweak your connection according to your needs — then you should use NordVPN.

Our Special Offers

If you’ve made a decision and you’re ready to try out either of the VPN providers that we’ve discussed above, then we have special offers available to our readers to let you save money on a subscription for either service:

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is one of the most popular VPNs thanks to its flexibility and easy of use. It has super fast connection speeds that won’t slow you down, so you can browse and download in peace over a connection so fast you won’t even notice that it’s there.

The VPN uses strong 256-bit encryption and has a no logging policy to keep your data safe and to protect your privacy, and the massive server network consists of over 3,000 servers in 160 locations in 94 different countries so you can get around region locks of all kinds.

The software is available for operating systems including Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and Android, in addition to games consoles and smart TVs, and is very easy to use. You can also use the VPN through browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

Pros

  • SPECIAL OFFER: 3 months free (49% off – link below)
  • Super fast servers
  • Very simple and easy to use
  • Strict no-logs policy for personal information
  • 24/7 Live Chat.
Cons

  • Expensive month-to-month plan.
BEST OVERALL VPN: ExpressVPN is a premium VPN that holds nothing back from its users, including fast speeds and powerful encryption. Get 3 months free and save 49% on the annual plan. 30-day money back guarantee included.

2. NordVPN

NordVPN is a top choice for users who want both the very best in security and advanced features like custom DNS and specialised servers. In terms of security, there is the 256-bit encryption and no logging policy that you would expect, plus the special double encryption which you can use for the absolute highest level of security.

The connection speeds offered are fast enough for streaming high definition video, and the massive server network has more than 5,100 servers in 59 countries so you’ll never struggle to find a server.

There are specialised servers available for anti DDoS, dedicated IP, double VPN, onion over VPN, and P2P. The software can be installed on Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Chrome OS, Android, and Windows Phone, plus you can use the VPN through browser extensions for the Chrome and Firefox web browsers.

Read our full NordVPN review.

Pros

  • SPECIAL OFFER: 3-year plan (75% off – link below)
  • Extensive server park of over 5,400 different servers
  • Allows up to 6 devices to be connected at once
  • Extra-secure Double VPN for data encryption
  • Great customer service via chat.
Cons

  • Refund processing can take up to 30 days.
BEST BUDGET VPN: Get a huge 70% discount for signing up for the 3-year plan, taking the monthly price down to only $3.49. Also note that all plans come with a “no hassle” 30-day money-back guarantee.

Conclusion

We often recommend both ExpressVPN and NordVPN here at Addictive Tips, thanks to the high level of security, fast connections, and large server networks offered by both providers. However, if you’re trying to decide which of these two VPNs you should use, this guide can help you see some of the key differences between the two. ExpressVPN has the advantages that it is extremely easy to use and can be installed on a big range of devices, and it has extremely fast connections. NordVPN offers special security features plus other advanced features and the best performance we’ve seen for getting around VPN blocks. Overall, we’d recommend ExpressVPN for beginners who want a simple VPN with no complications, and NordVPN for advanced users who want all of the special features on offer.

Have you tried out either of these two VPNs? How was your experience with them? Let us know in the comments below.

The post NordVPN vs ExpressVPN: Comparison Review 2020 appeared first on AddictiveTips.

Are Cryptocurrencies Safe And Legal To Use?

Cryptocurrencies have drawn a lot of attention in news media, along with surging interest from newcomers. But are they safe and legal to use? We’ll address these questions and more in our comprehensive guide below. We’ll also make recommendations for the top rated VPNs proven to enhance your security while using cryptocurrencies.

It used to be that only people with a high level of knowledge in technology and finance were involved in cryptocurrency mining and trading, but now it’s more and more common for regular people to start use cryptocurrencies too. From the big names like Bitcoin to the lesser known but up and coming currencies like Ethereum, LiteCoin, or Dashcoin, there are many options for users to choose from. And there are increasingly more options to pay for everyday transactions in shops or online stores with cryptocurrencies.

But if you’re new to all of this, you might be wondering: are cryptocurrencies safe and legal to use? This is the topic we’re going to address today.

Are Cryptocurrencies Legal?

The legal status of cryptocurrencies is rather complicated. In most countries in the world, there are no specific laws against the mining, purchasing, or trading of cryptocurrencies. However, even if cryptocurrencies are legal to have and own, they may not necessarily be acceptable as legal tender. Some countries have made new laws to explicitly allow the use and trading of cryptocurrencies, while in other countries, cryptocurrencies have been made illegal due to the possibility of money laundering using these currencies.

So the exact legal status of cryptocurrencies depends on where exactly you live, and you should check the laws in your country before using them. However, as a rough guide, you should know that cryptocurrencies are legal in countries in Europe and North America, and they are also legal in Israel, Turkey, India, Pakistan, Japan, South Korea, and Australia.

Cryptocurrencies are illegal in Bangladesh, Nepal, Cambodia, Ecuador, Algeria, and Morocco. In Indonesia, cryptocurrencies cannot be used as payment but it it legal to mine them.

Two countries in which cryptocurrencies are legal but the government has been pushing hard to regulate or restrict their use are China and India. In China, many cryptocurrencies exchanges have been shut down, but this has been down through means other than legal prosecutions. In these countries, users should be very careful when using cryptocurrencies even though they are not technically illegal.

LEARN MORE: How to unblock Bitcoin exchanges in China

Are Cryptocurrencies Safe?

A big attraction for users of cryptocurrencies is that they are often believed to be anonymous. Many users think that it is impossible for anyone to track their use of cryptocurrency to purchase goods or to trade, which is why they want to use cryptocurrencies to keep their transactions private. However, it is not strictly true that cryptocurrency transactions are totally anonymous.

The way that blockchain works is that all transactions are visible to everyone, so that no central bank is required as all users can track the transactions. To preserve anonymity, people keep secret their cryptocurrency accounts. So the idea is that everyone can see that 0.002 Bitcoins were transferred from Account A to Account B, but no one other than the account owners know who’s real identity is linked to accounts A or B.

The Reality Of Anonymity And Cryptocurrencies

However, in practice, transactions are not always anonymous. During a transaction, you are using a pseudonym. So if anyone is able to work out the link between your real identity and your cryptocurrency account, they will be able to see your transaction. This might happen if, for example, you order a product to be delivered to your house and you pay with Bitcoin. Now there is a link between your address and your Bitcoin account.

Another issue arises when you make a transaction on a cryptocurrency exchange like Coinbase or Coinsquare. These sites do not use encryption for transactions, so it is possible that the transactions could be observed by third parties.

None of this means that cryptocurrencies are inherently unsafe or that you shouldn’t use them. However, you should be aware that cryptocurrencies may not be as anonymous as you think they are. So you should proceed with caution.

Tips For Using Cryptocurrencies Safely

Now you know that there are some concerns around anonymity of cryptocurrency transactions, there are some steps that you can take to keep yourself safe when using cryptocurrencies. The first tip is to not use cryptocurrency for anything that you would not willing use regular money for. If you use cryptocurrency to purchase goods illegally, for example, there is a chance that your transactions can be tracked and that you could be prosecuted. So do not assume that using cryptocurrency will protect you from legal consequences of purchasing.

Another good piece of advice when working with cryptocurrencies is to use a VPN. When you are exchanging large amounts of money online, it’s good practice to use an encrypted connection to be absolutely sure that no one can intercept your data and track your transactions. A VPN protects you by encrypting all of the traffic that your device sends over the internet, including data about your cryptocurrency transactions. This encryption makes it impossible for hackers or the government to observe your transactions and to collect information about your cryptocurrency use.

How To Pick The Right VPN

There are many VPN provides out there, so how do you pick a provider for use with cryptocurrency transactions? These are some of the key factors that we think are important:

  • Excellent security. We look for the highest level of security in a VPN, with 256-bit encryption which is practically impossible to crack and a no logging policy to protect your privacy.
  • The possibility to pay your subscription in cryptocurrency. If you’re going to use your VPN to protect your cryptocurrency transactions and to protect your identity, then you don’t want a link between your personal identity and your VPN. Therefore, it is helpful to choose a VPN provider which allows you to pay your subscription costs with Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
  • Fast connections. Fast connections are a must for the best user experience, as there is nothing worse than a VPN that slows your internet down.
  • Large server network. To be able to use your VPN for best flexibility, you want a provider who has a large network of servers, including servers in many different countries.
  • Software that can be installed on variety of platforms. Once you have paid for a VPN subscription, you can use this one subscription to protect all of your different devices. So we look for VPN providers who offer software for a big range of operating systems.

The Top 4 VPNs For Safe Cryptocurrency Transactions

With all of these factors taken into consideration, here are the best VPNs that we recommend for cryptocurrency users:

1. ExpressVPN

One of the biggest and best VPN providers on the internet is ExpressVPN. They offer the best of all worlds with excellent security, fast connection speeds, and a large server network. The vital security features include strong 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy to protect your privacy. There are also more security features in the software like a kill switch to stop you from accidentally sending any data over an unsecured connection.

With more than 3000 servers in 94 different countries, the server network is massive and the connections are extremely fast. The software is available for older and newer versions of Windows, plus Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Android, and more, plus browser extensions available for Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. Best of all, you can pay for your subscription to ExpressVPN using Bitcoin.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

Pros

  • SPECIAL OFFER: 3 months free (49% off – link below)
  • Super fast servers (minimal speed loss)
  • Torrenting/P2P allowed
  • No logs for personal data
  • 24/7 Live Chat.
Cons

  • Max 3 simultaneous connections
  • High cost for month-to-month users.
BEST FOR CRYPTO: ExpressVPN is our top choice to secure your Bitcoin and cryptocurrency transactions. Get 3 months free and save 49% on the annual plan. 30-day money back guarantee included.

2. NordVPN

For those who want the absolute highest possible degree of security, then NordVPN has to be the VPN provider of choice. The security features begin with the essentials that you would expect, like strong 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy. But in addition to these essentials, NordVPN has a killer security feature in their special double encryption procedure. This double encryption works by encrypting your data not only when it first leaves your device and heads to a server, but also encrypting for a second time at this first server before being sent to a second server for decryption. This means that your data is virtually impossible for anyone to crack, even if they have the most modern and high end cracking software.

In addition to double encryption, a further security feature is the CyberSec option which you can enable to protect you from malware, and there is also DNS leak protection and the option to use Onion Over VPN. With more than 5,600 servers in over 60 different countries, the server network is massive.

Read our full NordVPN review.

Pros

  • SPECIAL OFFER: 3-year plan (75% off – link below)
  • Fast and stable connections
  • 2,048-bit SSL keys and DNS leak protection
  • No logs and encrypted connections for total privacy
  • Great support (24/7 chat).
Cons

  • Some servers can be unreliable
  • Apps can sometime be slow to connect.
BEST BUDGET VPN: Get a huge 70% discount for signing up for the 3-year plan, taking the monthly price down to only $3.49. Also note that all plans come with a “no hassle” 30-day money-back guarantee.

3. PureVPN

If you’re looking for an all in one security system which includes lots of extra security features as well as a VPN, then PureVPN is for you. A subscription to PureVPN includes access to a high quality VPN with strong 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy. Plus it has a large network of servers, with more than 2,000 servers in 140+ different countries.

In addition to the VPN, you get access to security features that include anti virus and anti malware protection, plus an anti spam filter for your email. Mobile users can take advantage of the app filtering option which lets you set different security permissions for different software, so that some apps pass their data through the VPN and some through the unencrypted connection. In addition you get features like DDoS protection, a kill switch, the option for a dedicated IP, and a NAT firewall.

The software can be installed on Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, and Android TV devices, as well as browser extensions for the Chrome and Firefox browsers. When it comes to payment, you can pay for your subscription using the CoinPayments system which lets you pay with altcoins like Ether, Litecoin, BitBean, CloakCoin, Dash, and LeoCoin as well as Bitcoin.

Read our full PureVPN review.

READER SPECIAL: Save a massive 74% here on the 2-year plan, just $2.88/mo with a 31-day money back guarantee.

4. StrongVPN

If you are concerned about hackers trying to access your data and you want the absolute toughest encryption that you can get, then you should opt for StrongVPN. This has the option for running a VPN using up to 256-bit encryption, which is incredibly strong and is essentially impossible to crack. This extremely high level of security is complemented by a no logging policy too to ensure that your data will never be recorded or sold. The downside of this amazing security is that the server network is smaller than other providers, with 650+ servers available in 26 countries. On the plus side, however the connections are fast and reliable.

The software can be installed on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, and you can pay for your StrongVPN subscription using Bitcoin to protect your anonymity.

SPECIAL OFFER: Sign up for a yearly plan with our 42% discount, just $5.83/mo. Get an extra 20% off with coupon code TAKEOFF20, plus enjoy a 30-day money back guarantee.

Conclusion

Cryptocurrencies are only becoming more popular, with more and more people starting to use cryptocurrencies for their everyday transactions. However, the legal status of cryptocurrencies is somewhat complex. In countries in Europe and North America, plus some other countries around the world, cryptocurrencies are legal and frequently used. However, in other countries such as Bangladesh and Nepal, cryptocurrencies are illegal. In places like China and India, cryptocurrencies are technically legal but are being cracked down on by the government so they should be used with caution.

There are also some security issues to be aware of when using cryptocurrencies. Most people believe that cryptocurrency transactions are anonymous, but this is not strictly accurate. If you are very concerned about anonymity then you should take extra steps to protect yourself when making cryptocurrency transactions, such as using a VPN. We have recommended a selection of VPNs that are suitable for cryptocurrency users and which accept payment in cryptocurrency.

Do you have security concerns about cryptocurrencies? And are cryptocurrencies legal where you live? Let us know about the cryptocurrency situation in your country by leaving a comment below.

Read Are Cryptocurrencies Safe And Legal To Use? by Georgina Jones on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

Web Browsing Safety Tips: 5 Essential Tips for Safer Browsing

Even if you’re a digital native, chances are good the 5 tips presented in this article will help you build safer Internet browsing habits and boost your security online. Fear not, none of these suggestions require an advanced degree in cybersecurity–anyone can get up and running with these handy tools in a matter of minutes.

The internet is full of potential dangers – from your device contracting a virus to someone stealing your credit card details and running up bills. Unfortunately, people are not always aware of the methods and tools that are available to them in order to make their browsing experience safer. That’s why we wanted to share our tips for a few simple steps that you can take to prevent your devices from becoming infected or someone from stealing your identity.

Read on for our top 5 essential tips for safer internet browsing.

1. Use A VPN

One of the best ways that you can keep yourself safe and protect your privacy while browsing online is to use a VPN. A VPN is simply a small piece of software which you install onto your device and which encrypts all of the data that your device sends over the internet.

The reason that this is so helpful is that browsing over an unsecured internet connection, with no encryption, is potentially risky from a security and privacy standpoint. Without encryption, it’s very easy for your ISP to see exactly what you are doing online – what sits you are visiting, what files you are downloading, and even the contents of your IM messages.

Online Snooping

This can be a big problem in two cases: if you are downloading something illegally, in which case your ISP could kick you off their network or report you to the authorities and you could be prosecuted for copyright infringement, or if the government is surveilling your communications, in which case they will be able to see all of your messages and the people you are communicating with. Both of these scenarios are very worrying from a privacy standpoint.

The related security issue is about public networks. When you are using your private network at home, this isn’t a problem. But when you are using a public network like the free wifi networks you find at cafes, airports, and other public spaces, you have to be careful. When you send data over these public networks, it is possible for other users on the network to intercept your data – which could include information like your bank details or other personal details. This can lead to identity theft, which is a nightmare to deal with.

LEARN MORE: What to do if your identity is stolen

To avoid these problems with both security and privacy, you can use a VPN to encrypt all of your data. This will keep you safe and protected from hackers, and it will also ensure that your browsing and internet usage data is kept private.

What Makes a Good VPN?

If you’re looking for a VPN to use, then we have some recommendations for highly regarded and trustworthy VPN providers that you can sign up for. Do note that these are all paid VPN services – this is because free VPN services are frequently untrustworthy and will make you less safe. Paid VPN services cost just a few dollars a month and you can rely on them to make your device more secure and to protect your privacy.

We assess VPNs for recommendation based on these four key factors:

  1. Excellent security like strong 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy.
  2. Fast connections so your browsing isn’t slowed down.
  3. A large server network so you can easily find a server that works for you.
  4. Easy to use software which supports all the different operating systems your devices use.

Top 4 VPNs for Safety Online

Considering the above factors, here are the four best VPNs on the market for privacy, security, and peace of mind online:

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is one of the most popular VPN services on the internet, thanks to its ease of use and flexibility. The service has excellent security, with strong 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy to protect your privacy. The massive server network of over 3,000 servers in 145 different locations in 94 countries means you’ll always be able to find a server that meets your needs, and the connections are fast and work even on sites with VPN detection like Netflix.

The software is available for Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Linux, and many more platforms, and it has extra features like a speed test and a DNS leak test so you can check that everything is working just as it should. Overall, a great all-round experience that is full featured but still easy to use.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

Pros

  • Unblocking Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime
  • 3,000+ super fast servers
  • Torrenting allowed
  • No logging policy well enforced
  • 24/7 Chat Support.
Cons

  • Month-to-month plan has high cost.
SAFEST VPN: ExpressVPN the perfect choice for hardcore Internet security without sacrificing performance. Get 3 months free and save 49% on the annual plan. 30-day money back guarantee included.

2. NordVPN

When you need the absolute best security, you should opt for NordVPN. As well as the essential strong 256-bit encryption and no logging policy that we expect, this service also distinguishes itself with its double encryption feature. Double encryption means that your data is encrypted not once but twice, at two separate servers, which makes it essentially impossible for anyone to crack it even with military-grade cracking tools. This double encryption makes for some of the best security that you can get from a VPN.

The connections are not quite as fast as others, but are still fast enough for browsing and tasks like streaming high definition video. The incredible server network of more than 5,500 servers in over 60 different countries means plenty of options. The NordVPN app is great for visual people as it has a map interface which you can use to connect to a server in the country of your choosing, and it is available for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Chrome OS, Android, iOS and Windows Phone, plus browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome.

Read our full NordVPN review.

Pros

  • SPECIAL OFFER: 3-year plan (75% off – link below)
  • Most VPN servers with different IP addresses
  • Zero leaks: IP/DNS/WebRTC
  • Based in Panama
  • Great support (24/7 chat).
Cons

  • Some servers can have average d/l speeds
  • They can take 30 days to process refunds.
BEST BUDGET VPN: Get a huge 70% discount for signing up for the 3-year plan, taking the monthly price down to only $3.49. Also note that all plans come with a “no hassle” 30-day money-back guarantee.

3. PureVPN

If you’d like a whole package of security software rolled into one, then you can look into PureVPN. The package includes a VPN service with the features that we want, like good security in the form of strong 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy. There is also a hefty server network of more than 2,000 servers in an insane 140 different countries, which provide fast and stable connections.

As well as the VPN software, the PureVPN bundles comes with anti virus and anti malware protection, which you can use to protect yourself from malicious software while browsing. There is also ad blocking software included, which is great for those who browse the internet a lot and don’t want to be distracted by flashy ads. Add in an anti spam filter to keep your email free of unwanted messages and DDoS protection to prevent your device being used in a cyber attack, and a NAT firewall to control what connections are passed over your internet, and you can see why this service is touted as an all in one security suite.

The software is available for the key platforms: Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, and Android TV devices, and there are also browser extensions for the Chrome and Firefox browsers.

Read our full PureVPN review.

READER SPECIAL: Save a massive 74% here on the 2-year plan, just $2.88/mo with a 31-day money back guarantee.

4. IPVanish

When you want a VPN that is super fast and won’t slow down your browsing one bit, you should try IPVanish. As well as lightning fast connections it offers good security with strong 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy. The network of 1,300+ servers in 60 different countries is large enough for you to find a server to meet whatever needs you have.

The software can be installed on Windows, Mac OS, Android, Linux, Windows Phone, and iOS, and it has advanced features like a kill switch, auto reconnect, leak protection for IPv6 and DNS, periodic IP address change, and manually configurable DNS. For experienced users who want blazing fast speeds and plenty of advanced tweaking options, this is a top choice.

Read our full IPVanish review.

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2. Be Careful What You Download

The first step to safe browsing is to pay attention to what you click. Generally, visiting text based websites is unlikely to cause a problem. But downloading unknown or untrustworthy files from random websites is likely to lead to you accidentally installing malicious software onto your device. This malicious software is often referred to by casual users as a ‘virus’, but in fact most of this software is not a destructive virus but rather a way of collecting personal information – so it is called ‘malware’, meaning malicious software. Learning to recognize malware links is an essential skill any netizen needs to master.

.exe Files

Be especially careful only to download .exe files from trusted sources. EXE files are installers that will install a piece of software onto your device when you run them. So there are times when you will need to download .exe files, such as when you are downloading a piece of software from an official website. Other than this case, however, you should avoid downloading or running unknown .exe files. For example, if you are on a rather untrustworthy website like a site that hosts files illegally or a porn site, you’ll see lots of links and buttons to download content or software. If these links prompt you to download an .exe file, you should reject this and not try to use that link as it is almost certainly malware.

.pdf Files

Another file type to look out for is .pdf. PDFs are a legitimate and useful file type for sharing high quality text or image documents, so you’ll see them used for academic papers, business documents, and more. However, there are some security holes in the .pdf format so in general you should avoid .pdfs from untrustworthy sites.

Use Antimalware

If you do download an .exe or dodgy .pdf file and introduce malware onto your system, you don’t need to panic. You can use a free anti-malware program like Malwarebytes to scan your computer for malware and clean off any suspicious files from your system. In fact, it’s a good idea for all users to run a periodic anti-malware scan around once every six months in order to quarentine any malicious software that might have been acquired on your system.

One important final note: remember that anti-malware or anti-virus software is only as good as its last update. You need to keep your protection software up to date or it can’t protect you against the latest software threats.

3. Use A Password Manager

Many, many users have the terrible habit of using the same password for multiple different websites. This is understandable, as it’s extremely difficult to remember a large number of passwords. However, reusing passwords is a major security risk. This is because if one site leaks its database of usernames and passwords – which happens quite often – then hackers can try to reuse these username and passwords combinations on other sites.

So, for example, maybe MySpace gets hacked and your username and password gets stolen. You might not care, because you don’t use MySpace any more. But if you have used the same password for another service, such as your Gmail account, then this account could be hacked using your old data. That’s why reusing passwords is such a big risk.

To get around this issue without having to remember hundreds of passwords, the best thing to do is to use a password manager. This is an app that generates and stores passwords for all of your hundreds of different accounts for different websites. Each password can be strong (using numbers and symbols as well as letters), is randomly generated to avoid real words (or the dreaded password ‘password’), and is unique for each site. So even if one of your accounts is compromised, the other sites you use will remain safe.

Two very popular and highly trusted password managers are LastPass and 1Password, either of which is an excellent choice to protect your passwords and keep your accounts safe.

4. Use HTTPS Wherever Possible

HTTP is the protocol which allows communication between separate systems – such as between a website and your computer. That’s why you see http:// at the beginning of every website address. This protocol has been around for a long time and is one of the foundational protocols that makes the internet work.

However, HTTP traffic is not encrypted, meaning that it can easily be intercepted and read by third parties. If you send data over the internet – for example, if your web-based email uses a HTTP site – then hackers or snoops can read your messages and monitor your internet activity. For this reason, sites which need to be secure – like web-based email clients – use HTTPS instead. The S stands for secure and it means that the data passed along the internet connection is encrypted. This encryption makes it much, much harder for any third party to get at your data.

Keep An Eye On Your Address Bar

So firstly, make sure that your address bar always starts with HTTPS any time you’re entering sensitive data like your bank details or personal information into a website. It’s also good practise to use HTTPS on any sites where it is available for the best security. Not all sites will have HTTPS – simple text-based sites which take no input will often still only use HTTP and that’s just fine, as they are not collecting sensitive information – but it’s a good idea to use the HTTPS protocol on as many sites as you can.

The easiest way to make sure that you use HTTPS on as many sites as possible is to use a browser extension like HTTPS Everywhere. This automatically diverts your browsing to the HTTPS version of a site whenever possible. This is a dead easy security upgrade – just install the browser extension and go back to browsing as usual, knowing that you’re using the more secure version of a site wherever possible.

5. Turn On Two Factor Authentication For Your Services

Here’s another way to protect the valuable accounts that you use for your favourite websites: turn on two factor authentication. Two factor authentication, or 2FA, might sound technical but in fact the principle is simple. The idea is that as well as a password, you have an additional layer of security whenever you log in. This additional layer of security is linked to a specific physical device that you carry with you – usually your mobile phone. This means that even if someone were to steal your username and password for a particular website, they would still not be able to log in unless they had also stolen your phone.

One way that mobile phones are used for 2FA is through SMS messages. This is common for online banking websites and for Paypal. In this case, when you log in to one of these sites with your username and password, a SMS message will be sent to your phone with a 5 or 6 digit authentication number in it. You look at the SMS on your phone and enter the authentication number into the website in order to log in.

RELATED READING: How to recognize an SMS phishing scam

Another common method for 2FA is using the Google Authenticator app. This is an app that generates 6 digit codes that you can use to log in to compatible websites like Discord, Tumblr, or Dropbox. A handy feature of Google Authenticator is that it even works offline, so you can still use the app when you are abroad or you have run out of mobile data. Finally, some services let you generate 2FA codes using their associated mobile apps, like Steam or Facebook.

Which Sites To Enable 2FA On

It’s highly advisable to turn on two factor authentication on as many websites as possible. It only takes a few seconds for the extra log in step and it significantly improves your security, especially for highly valuable websites like online banking, Facebook, and Google. When you enable 2FA on any of these websites you can just follow the instructions provided by the site to set up the authentication process.

Here is a starting list of websites which you should enable 2FA on:

  • Google / Gmail
  • Facebook
  • WhatsApp
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Apple ID
  • Discord
  • Tumblr
  • LastPass
  • Dropbox
  • Steam
  • Microsoft
  • Paypal
  • Amazon
  • LinkedIn

Conclusion

There are plenty of dangers out there on the internet, from viruses to identity theft, but there are some simple steps that you can take to keep yourself safe while you browse. We’ve suggested five essential tips for protecting yourself while browsing, so you can explore the internet freely without worrying about security issues. Some of these tips, like not downloading from unknown sources, will be common sense to regular internet users. But lots of people still don’t know about the important of using a password manager, using HTTPS, using two factor authentication, and using a VPN.

We advise you to take on board all of these tips for the best protection while you browse. Do you have any more helpful security tips to share with us? Then leave a note in the comments below!

Read Web Browsing Safety Tips: 5 Essential Tips for Safer Browsing by Georgina Jones on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

Best VPNs For Freelancers And Remote Workers in 2019

VPNs are essential tools for freelancers and remote workers, as these groups predominantly use the Internet to conduct their affairs. In order to secure your sensitive data online and guarantee access to the free and open Internet no matter where you go, we’ll show you everything you need to know about choosing and integrating a VPN into your workflow.

With fast internet connections available in places all around the world and jobs becoming increasingly online, more and more people are taking up remote work. Telecommuting into the office is becoming the norm in a whole range of industries and jobs. In addition to this, in the new gig economy lots of people are working as freelancers, taking on a mixture of clients and managing their own schedules and workloads.

Both remote working and freelancing give workers the freedom to work in new ways, often including working from a new location. When you can Skype all of your meetings and submit all of your work via email, why not work from a different location? It could be traveling to a new country or just squeezing out some work while visiting friends of family in your home town.

In either case, both freelancers and remote workers need a few tools in their digital arsenal to deal with the issues that arise when working online. Today we’re going to talk about why remote workers and freelancers might want a VPN, then we’ll recommend the best VPNs for freelancers and remote workers.

How To Choose A Good VPN

With all these benefits, it’s clear that remote workers and freelancers will benefit from a VPN. As well as helping them to keep their professional work secure, a VPN will also improve their personal privacy. But how should you go about choosing a VPN, and what factors are most important in that choice? Below we’ll recommend our top VPNs for remote workers and freelancers, as based on the factors we find most vital:

  • Strong encryption. In order for a VPN to keep you safe, you need the best encryption which is practically impossible to crack. We recommend the industry standard 256-bit encryption as appropriate.
  • Fast connections. A bad VPN can slow down your internet connection, making work a pain and being an unnecessary hassle to deal with. We identified VPNs that are so fast you won’t even notice that they’re there.
  • A no logging policy. For peace of mind when it comes to privacy, we look for VPN providers who keep no logs of their users’ data so you can be sure your activities aren’t being recorded.
  • Support for different operating systems. You want to be able to protect all of your devices with just one VPN subscription, so we look for providers with software that supports multiple different platforms.
  • No bandwidth limitations or traffic restrictions. A lot of free VPNs have bandwidth caps or limitations on the types of traffic allowed over the network, which is no good when you want to work freely. We identify reputable paid VPN services that have no bandwidth limits and no traffic restrictions so you can browse freely.

What are the best VPNs for remote workers?

With all of the above factors in mind, the only remaining task is to choose and install a VPN. But which one should you go for amidst a crowded marketplace? Before succumbing to analysis paralysis, check out our top recommendations for the best VPNs for remote workers:

1. ExpressVPN

One of the most popular VPNs among power users and internet professionals is ExpressVPN. Thanks to its super fast connections and exceptional reliability around the world, this service is idea for frequent travellers. With a server network of more than 3,000 servers in 94 countries you’ll have no problem in finding a server, and you’ll also benefit from excellent security with strong 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy to protect your privacy. The software has helpful advanced features like a speed test and a DNS leak and is available for Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Linux, and more.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

Pros

  • Unblocks Netflix and other streaming sites
  • Fast serves with minimal speed loss
  • No DNS/IP leaks found
  • Keeps no logs of personal data
  • 24/7 Chat Support.
Cons

  • Slightly more expensive than some other options.
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2. NordVPN

For those who are concerned primarily with security and want to be absolutely sure that no one can access their data, then NordVPN is a top choice. This service has more than 5,500 servers in over 60 different countries for easy access to content from elsewhere in the world. But the best feature is the exceptional security. As well as strong 256-bit encryption and the no logging policy you would expect, there is also a special double encryption feature in which your data is encrypted not once but twice. The data is passed through an extra layer of encryption for the best possible security. The software has a map interface which makes it great for travellers, and it is available for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Chrome OS, Android, iOS and Windows Phone, as well as browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome.

Read our full NordVPN review.

Pros

  • Optimized servers for unblocking Netflix
  • 5,400+ servers globally
  • Strong encryption is used on all connections
  • Retains no metadata of your browsing
  • Live Chat Support.
Cons

  • Some servers can be slow and unreliable
  • Apps can be a bit cumbersome to use.
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3. IPVanish

When you want a VPN that is fast above all else, then you need IPVanish. With lightning quick connection speeds and a network of 1,300+ servers in 60 different countries you can always find a server in the country that you need and know that it will be super fast. The service offers good security with strong 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy, so you can browse with peace of mind. The software has handy features like a kill switch, auto reconnect, leak protection for IPv6 and DNS, periodic IP address change, and manually configurable DNS, is available for Windows, Mac OS, Android, Linux, Windows Phone, and iOS.

Read our full IPVanish review.

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4. VyprVPN

Another good option for travelers, especially those who spend time in China, is VyprVPN. The infamous Great Firewall of China severely restricts what sites and content are accessible from China, and the Chinese government tries to crack down on VPN use by adding VPN protection to their networks. This means that many VPNs do not work in China – but VyprVPN does.

This is because as well as good security with 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy, the service has a special feature called the Chameleon protocol. This protocol encrypts not only your data but also your metadata (which includes information about the origin and destination of the data packets). VPN detection tried to compare the origin of the data with the origin stated in the metadata, and rejects those which do not match, which is why most VPNs don’t work on such networks. But because the Chameleon protocol encrypts the metadata too, there is no mismatch found and therefore VyprVPN works.

This makes it the top choice for remote workers who will be travelling to or through China. The service has a network of more than 700 servers in 70 different countries and the software is available for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.

Read our full VyprVPN review.

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Why It’s Hard To Access Content From Abroad

Here’s one common issue when you are working remotely: you arrive in a new country, you find a cafe with an internet connection, you settle down to work, and then disaster: you can’t access vital files or websites. The problem is that some sites use geolocation to track where users are visiting from, and then limit visitor’s access to content based on their location.

For example, a new source might only be available in its local area, and not be accessible from abroad. Or there can be a language problem, like when you visit a familiar site but the content is presented in the language local to where you are based – not the language you speak. In both these cases, you are seeing a different version of the site than you usually would at home because you are in a different location. This is the same problem that you’ll find if you try to use a streaming service like Hulu or Netflix – the content that you can watch at home may not be available when you’re abroad.

This process is called region locking, and it means that websites will only let you access certain content when you visit them from a particular geographic location. This can cause a lot of problems for remote workers who are travelling or accessing their work materials from a new location. Fortunately, it is possible to get around these region locks and access your files and content as usual by using a VPN.

Using A VPN To Get Around Region Locks

So how does this region locking process work? Normally, when you use an unencrypted internet connection then you will be assigned an IP address by your internet provider and this IP address can be traced to a particular location. This is because ranges of IP address are assigned to each country, so when you visit any website that site can read your IP and see where you are visiting from. When you travel abroad and try to access a website with region locking, the site sees that you are in, say, Italy rather than the US, and restricts what you can see.

But a VPN can help with this by giving you a new IP address. A VPN works by encrypting all of the data that leaves your device and travels over the internet. You choose a server to connect to in the country of your choice, and your encrypted data is sent to that server to be decrypted and sent on its way to its original destination. This means that because the data is unencrypted at the server, you are assigned an IP corresponding to the location of the server not the location of your device. So even if you are in Italy, you can connect to a server in the US – then when you visit websites they will show you the US version. This is how you can get around region locks from any country and to any country.

A VPN service will give you access to a network of servers all around the world, so you can pick any server to connect to and browse as if you were in that country. This means that remote workers or freelancers can be abroad and connect to a server in their home country, then use the internet to access any sites that they need as if they were at home. They can even watch their streaming services like Netflix or Hulu as if they were at home too.

Other Reasons To Use A VPN

A VPN can bring more benefits to remote workers than just the convenience of getting around region locks. There are also important security and privacy benefits which you should consider:

  • Protect yourself from hackers on public wifi. A popular way to work is to find a public wifi network at a cafe or airport, for example, and to use this connection to work. However, it can be dangerous to connect to a public network without protection. When you send data across a network, then other users may be able to intercept this data. This means that hackers on public wifi networks could steal your personal information and use it for identity theft, or they could spy on your private work documents. You can protect yourself from this risk by using a VPN whenever you connect to a public network. The encryption of the VPN means that your data is bundled up and locked safely away so that no one else on the network can read it or intercept it.
  • Preserve your privacy. Whenever you use an unsecured internet connection, it’s easy for the internet provider to track exactly what sites you have visited and even to see data that you have sent over the internet. As well as being an invasion of your privacy, if your work is sensitive then this can be a big problem. To stop your internet provider, the government, or any other third parties from being able to track your internet use, use a VPN to encrypt your data which will stop others from being able to intercept it.
  • Download files safely. If you are going to download files or visit websites which are not fully legal, then you need to be careful – particularly when you are travelling. Make sure that you don’t get into trouble for downloading or streaming something that you shouldn’t by using a VPN to encrypt your traffic and to hide your download activities.

Conclusion

Freelancers and remote workers benefit from a flexible work schedule which means that they can travel and work in lots of locations outside of the traditional office. However, working remotely requires consideration of some security issues too – from the potential of hackers stealing your data while you use the public wifi in a coffee shop to the difficulty of accessing content which is restricted in the country you are currently located in. A VPN can help ameliorate both these issues and improve your general online security and privacy at the same time. Any of the five VPNs that we have recommended would be a great choice for freelancers or remote workers to help you do your best work.

If you have experience with remote work, then what security measures did you take? Did you use a VPN or was there another method you want to share? Let us know about it in the comments below.

Read Best VPNs For Freelancers And Remote Workers in 2019 by Georgina Jones on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

Children Online Privacy: What Sort of Protection They Need

Modern parents struggle to reconcile the instinct to protect their children online with the need to let them grow into netizens responsible for their own digital privacy. Today’s guide will help you determine the most reasonable degree of privacy for your child. We’ll also show you the best child-friendly VPN services, allowing them to browse and download in greater security.

It’s a question that every modern parent wonders about: how much digital privacy should I let my child have? You want to make sure that your child is safe when they go online, but you also want to respect their growth and need for some privacy as they get older. Now that so many kids have phones or tablets of their own and they can access the internet from school or practically anywhere else, this question is more complicated than ever. How much should you restrict their internet use, and how much should you let them explore and discover for themselves? This is the topic we’re going to discuss today, with our look at children and digital privacy: how much is too much?

A VPN Can Help Preserve Your Digital Privacy

One good way to protect both your and your child’s digital privacy is to use a VPN. A VPN is a small piece of software which you install onto your phone, tablet, or computer, and which encrypts all of the data that this device sends over the internet. This encryption means that it is almost impossible for anyone outside of your home network to access your data or to observe your internet activity. When you have your VPN switched on you can be sure that no one will be able to spy on your communications or to track where you visit on the internet. This is a simple and effective way to make internet use safer for you and your family.

We Recommend ExpressVPN

The top VPN that we recommend for this situation is ExpressVPN. This provider is well known for being extremely secure and for having easy to use software and good customer support. The service uses strong 256-bit AES encryption to keep your data safe and has a no logging policy to protect your privacy. You’ll get access to a massive network of over 3,000 servers in 94 different countries, and you can install the software on your Windows, Mac OS, iOS, and Android devices, plus many more.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

Pros

  • Unblocks US Netflix
  • Fast serves with minimal speed loss
  • No DNS/IP leaks found
  • No logs for personal data
  • Great support (24/7 chat).
Cons

  • High cost for month-to-month users.
BEST FOR KIDS: ExpressVPN is ideal for children and adults alike – secure, fast, and unobtrusive. Get 3 months free and save 49% on the annual plan. 30-day money back guarantee included.

A Reasonable Degree Of Privacy Changes With Age

When considering what a sensible degree of online privacy to grant your child is, the first issue to consider is their age. As a rule of thumb, for children under 12 it’s a good idea to supervise everything that your child does online. You should supervise them when they use a phone or tablet, and you can help them to use a computer by showing them how to search using Google or how to watch videos on YouTube. When children are a bit older, say 12 to 14, you can start letting them have their own access to sites that you have previously approved without constantly monitoring them. By the time they are 15 or 16, ideally you would have set up a system whereby they understand how to use the internet safely and together you have come to an agreement about how much privacy they will have.

You’ll see some advice that parents should monitor all of their child’s communications, including reading their email, text messages, and accessing their social media accounts. While this might be reasonable for a child under 10, by the time a child has become a teenager then this advice is no longer sound. When children realise that you are monitoring all of their communication, they’ll almost certainly find another to communicate behind your back – whether by getting a second phone, setting up secret accounts, or by using their friends’ devices. It’s also an extreme invasion of privacy for you to read everything. Remember that teenage years are a time for experimentation and growth, and you need to give your child some space for them to achieve this.

Rather than trying to control your teenage child’s communications, instead try to make it clear to them that they can talk to you if they are having problems, or if they aren’t sure what they should do. They won’t be able to trust you if they find out that you are spying on them. It’s much better if your child feels free to talk to you themselves when they get in trouble, instead of you monitoring them all the time.

Should You Use Monitoring Apps?

One solution that many parents are tempted by are monitoring apps which record your child’s online activity for your review. You can find apps that either record messages which your child sends, or apps which track and locate your child by tracing their phone. Some of these apps might be useful in an emergency, such as if your child gets lost and you need to locate them. However, it’s always important that your child knows about these apps if you’re going to install them. If you explain to your child that you have a way to find them in case of an emergency, but you promise not to use it unless it is really necessary, then most children will be find with having a location app on their device.

If you use these apps without informing your child, you breach their trust and make them wary of you. This is bad in both practical and psychological terms. Practically, if a child is determined to sneak around behind your back then they will find a way to do so – and this way might be more unsafe or risky than if you didn’t monitor them. Psychologically speaking, if a child feels that they cannot trust their parent then they may act up or shut out the parent entirely, damaging the family relationship. It’s always best to be honest with your child about the steps you are taking to keep them safe.

How Much Screen Time Is Acceptable?

Another issue related to digital privacy that you might want to consider is how much time your child spends in front of a screen. Every parent knows that sometimes a tablet or phone can be incredibly useful for entertaining your child on a long journey or while waiting for something. Giving them a device can help to keep them happy and well behaved. However, spending too much time in front of a screen can be unhealthy. If your child is not exercising or sleeping enough then this can have a seriously detrimental effect on their health.

You might want to consider not allowing screen devices in your child’s bedroom and getting them to give you their phone when they go to sleep. This will help to ensure that they aren’t distracted or kept awake by their device and should help them to sleep better. You might also try to arrange times or activities that you do as a family with no screens involved. In general, it’s better for your children to willing forgo their devices for a few hours than you taking the device against their will. Try to think up fun activities that you know your child will enjoy and use this to persuade them to part from their device for a few hours.

This is also a chance you have to model healthy behaviour for your child. If you have a rule about no phones at the dinner table, for example, then set a good example by not checking your phone yourself. Make an effort not to constantly check your phone when you are out together or when you are visiting friends, as this will suggest to children that it’s okay for them to check their phones too.

Teach Your Children How To Use Passwords

Children need to learn to manage their digital privacy from everyone, not just with you. So you should talk to them about passwords and make sure they understand that they should never give out their password for any service to another person. If your child is a bit older, say in their teenage years, then you could introduce them to a password manager like LastPass or 1Password which will help them to keep their passwords safe. Ensure that they know what makes a good password, and explain to them why they should never use 12345 or the word password as their password.

If you’re going to have access to your child’s passwords, for example if you have a young child who has an email address for which you have the password, then make sure that your child knows this. They should understand that you can check their email or account if you have their password, and they should know that you could monitor their activity. It’s best to only occasionally check on your child’s messages, and to only bring up concerns with them if they are serious. If you try to monitor everything that your child sends, it can result in them findings ways to get around your monitoring such as by setting up a secret account.

Talk To Children About How Much Personal Information They Share Online

There’s a different concern about digital privacy, and this is about how much information a child may willing share online. There can be risks from cyberstalking to identity theft if too much personal information is shared on social media sites, forums, chats, or other venues. When it comes to dealing with this as a parent, firstly, you need to recognise that different generations have different views on how much online sharing is acceptable. For example, lots of older people would say that you shouldn’t show a picture of your real face anywhere online. However, for a generation with great love for the selfie, this is not a realistic expectation for a teenager.

You should talk to your child to discuss how much and in what manner they share personal information online. In the case of their school, for example, let them know that it’s fine to talk about school in a friends-only Facebook post, but it’s not a good idea to share the name of their school on Twitter. Try to get them to think about who might have access to any information that they put online, and whether they would be comfortable sharing this information with strangers.

You can also teach them not to put their email address in plain text on an open website to discourage email spam, and show them how a reverse Google Image search can find photos even if they thought they had been deleted. Again, this is another area where you can model good online behaviour by keeping a professional Twitter account or turning off location detection on apps and services that shouldn’t need to know your location.

Are Parental Controls A Good Solution?

You might be tempted to deal with these thorny issues by setting up a parental lock on your internet. Many ISPs provide a way for parents to lock down their internet connection so that it cannot be used to access inappropriate content, and this seems like a quick and easy way to manage online privacy issues for your child. However, there are some factors you should consider before opting for this solution. The first problem is that no filter is 100% accurate, so there is always the possibility that inappropriate content could slip through the filter and your child could find it. Secondly, if your children are very technologically adept (as many kids are), then they can and will find a way to get around a filter by using a proxy server or a VPN. If your child is really determined to look for particular content, they will find a way to do so even with a filter in place.

Another concern is that filters can sometimes be too zealous. Parental filters might block content that a child needs for learning or to do their homework, such as information on a current event that has been deemed controversial. Or these filters can block out any content which discusses issues of sexuality, such as LGBT issues or teen advice sites like Scarleteen, even when this content is aimed at and is appropriate for young people.

A filter might be a useful feature to enable for very young children, but at this age you should be supervising your child’s internet use in any case. Once your child is older, a filter is unlikely to do much good, and you should be willing to discuss with your child how they use the internet instead of relying on a filter.

Conclusion

The amount of digital privacy that your child can expect is certainly a difficult issue. As a parent, it’s obviously important to keep your child safe and to make sure that they are not exposed to dangers on the internet. But it’s also important to let you child have some space and privacy to develop on their own. Expectations of reasonable privacy will change over time as your child grows up, so be prepared to revisit discussions of online privacy frequently so you can come to an arrangement that makes both of you feel comfortable. Remember that one of the best ways you can help you child to stay safe is by modelling good online security habits yourself, and by sharing with your child how you use the internet and what you do to protect your privacy.

Do our readers have thoughts on what is a reasonable amount of privacy for a child to have online? If you are a parent, what rules do you follow about your child’s digital privacy? Let us know about it in the comments below.

Read Children Online Privacy: What Sort of Protection They Need by Georgina Jones on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter