Don’t just close the window – Log Out

When I read about kids having their social network accounts messed with, it is usually not an elaborate hack. Often they are on computer away from home and instead of logging out they click on the red X in the right hand corner. Clicking the red X only closes the window.  Kids stay logged in to Facebook, Google +, YouTube etc. The next person who sits at the computer can reopen the window and have full access to their account.

The same is true for mobile devices. Most apps remember login information and stay signed in, even after exiting. Anyone who picks up their phone can access open accounts. When a person forgets to log out all sort of craziness can happen. An open account on a phone or computer, can lead to an embarrassing post –

an arrest

or in trouble.

At our house, I have seen quite a few Facebook pages left open. Watching kids online, it is easy to see how this can happen. Between researching Hinduism, building a temple in Minecraft and checking in with friends, they have lots going on. With all these websites open, kids forget which sites need them to log out.

If they return home and cannot remember if the logged out, Facebook offers a remote log out. Kids can go to their Account Settings under Security and see if they are logged in on another device or computer. By selecting “End Activity”, they can log out of any open Facebook page. Unfortunately, most other sites do not have a remote log out.

We remind kids to lock the doors when they leave the house or car.  In the same way, parents need to remind kids to lock up their accounts.  Before they leave a computer or device, they need to make sure they have not just closed the window but locked the door by logging out.