1 in 10 kids have someone using their social security number - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

1 in 10 kids have someone else using their social security number

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While most businesses and adults are protective of their online identities, a new study finds cyber security should also be a concern for our children.

The Carnegie Mellon CyLab study shows more than 10 percent of children under the age of 18 have someone else using their social security number right now.

"Young people are more apt to have their identity stolen than older people...they have pretty good credit reports yet, they don't have a lot of debt so they're attractive to criminals, someone might want their identity," said Marcia Entwistle, the Business and Computer Science Chair at Augustana College.

Schools in the region are already working to teach students how to protect themselves online.

"We're actually learning about how to be safe on the Internet and what are positive and negatives about social networking and how to protect ourselves from scams, hackings and bad people on the Internet," said Megan Nolan, an 8th grade student at Patrick Henry Middle School.

Right now the 8th grade class at Patrick Henry Middle School in Sioux Falls is researching some of the dangers of working online, including identity theft.

"It kind of scares you just how easy it would be for someone to steal your information and just how unreliable things can be if you're not careful," said Mike Dang, an 8th grade student at Patrick Henry Middle School.

Those realizations are exactly what teachers are trying to share with a generation of students who are already familiar with technology.

"Their sense of privacy is way different than yours and mine, they haven't grown up being as protective of their privacy as older people has," said Entwistle.

It's why teachers from elementary school to college are working to help students realize the possible consequences of their online activities.

"We're teaching them…what not to share, then it progresses into how do we be secure with the information that we share? Do we want everyone to know our identity, our information and where we're at all the time?" said Dan Kirsch, the ITC Teacher at Patrick Henry Middle School.

Even though the dangers may be scary, knowing how to deal with them is reassuring.

"Now that we're learning about it, it makes me more comfortable about it because I know what not to do," said Nolan.

"You shouldn't post personal information on the Internet, keep your credit cards and stuff, keep all those safe, don't post anything about that on the Internet," said Dang.

It's the kind of knowledge that will help keep them safe online for many years to come.

Those eighth graders will see quite a few more classes in cyber security as they head through high school and even college. Entwistle says every student at Augustana goes through an online safety course.

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