Category: Personal Interest

Teaching Your Children the Basics of Online Security

child online

If you’re like many parents in the United States, your preteens and teenagers may be running circles around you when it comes to utilizing the latest technology. Whether that’s Facebook’s latest updates, new iPhone technology, or the latest app hitting the scene, the amount of new knowledge and innovation seems endless. For your growing children, this may look more like an endless playground than a minefield, but at times it can be both. To help your children use technology while still remaining safe we recommend these simple suggestions:

Passwords are important. Instead of defaulting to the same password for every account, explain to your son or daughter why they should have a complex password for each separate account. Cyber criminals are able to gain access to all your accounts instead of only one when they discover the passwords are all the same. The strongest passwords contain lowercase and uppercase letters, symbols, and numbers. Great apps like LastPass can help to store all current passwords in addition to creating stronger password options.

Privacy matters. On Facebook and most other social media outlets, there are always options to make your profile private or public. For children, and adults, we strongly recommend keeping your personal online profile private. While you and your children can connect with friends and other known acquaintances, it can become dangerous to push your information out to anyone who wants to read it. For instance, if you post about leaving for a family vacation, and the profile is set to public, potential thieves could now view your home as an easy target while you’re away.

Don’t talk to strangers. Just as you had the “Stranger danger,” discussion with your son or daughter when they were younger, this message follows a similar point, but within the chat rooms and friend requests online. While in an ideal world, we wouldn’t face issues like catfishing or cyberbullying, the truth is that these actions can cause real world issues and aren’t always left online. To promote in-person communication, remind them of the importance of speaking with friends and family outside of the web, and if they ever do need someone to talk to you and your family are always there to listen.

Only use secure wifi. After school, your teen may head to a part-time job or extracurricular activities. If they’ll be going away from your home or school, be sure to encourage them to steer clear of unsecure wifi. While many afterschool hotspots offer free wifi for customers, often there may be potential cybercriminals broadcasting a false signal. These unsecure signals can give them access to your child’s computer if the wifi is accepted. The criminal could then access personal information, passwords, or hold the computer access for ransom. To avoid situations like this, instruct your teen or preteen to only use wifi at home and at school unless you have approved an additional location such as the library.

Teach your children how to use the internet responsibly, and perhaps they can show you how to capitalize on the creative and efficiency tools it offers. At First Security State Bank, we think that family is one of the most valuable parts of life and we want to help your family grow. If you’d like to start a checking or savings account for your teen or preteen, stop in today, we’d love to help you get started.

7 Items Worth the Splurge

splurge

When you make your savings plan, you often don’t think about the things you should spend extra money on. While scrimping on other items such as groceries or kids clothes could help you in the long run, there are some expenditures that could cost you in the future if you don’t pony up for the better option. At First Security State Bank we suggest taking a second look at these seven products, and see if you need to upgrade the next time you buy:

Toilet Paper: You may not think it’s necessary, but let’s be honest; when you’re staying at a hotel that doesn’t have the good stuff, you notice. Household items such as toilet paper or garbage bags are bought to complete a task, and if they don’t complete it well or comfortably then it’s time to reconsider your options. We believe this product is worth the extra couple bucks, but we do recommend saving by buying in bulk!

Office Chair: If you’re like many Americans, you may spend a majority of your day sitting down. To avoid chronic back pain, and a slew of other ailments, we recommend investing in a comfortable and reliable office chair. If your employer is willing to pay for all or a portion of the chair, be sure to offer your measurements to be sure their options fit your height and weight specifications.

Mattress: Did you know you spend 33 percent of your life sleeping? For such a large portion of your time, you’ll want to be sure you’re getting the best sleep possible. Avoid those box store less costly options, and test out a few of the higher end options available in your budget. Not only can you sleep better, but you may find yourself spending less on coffee or energy drinks as well.

Pillows & Bed Sheets: While the mattress will make the biggest impact on the quality of your sleep, upgrading your thread count and purchasing the proper pillows can make a world of difference as well. Something as simple as changing the firmness of your pillow could help you sleep through the night more soundly.

Work Clothes: Sweats, shorts, and other home attire may not require the added expense, but the clothing that you wear to portray yourself at work should come across as professional while also remaining intact over time. We suggest finding one or two brands that fit both your budget and your style, and selecting key basic pieces to compile a wardrobe of endless combinations.

Garbage Bags: Do you enjoy it when you go to take the trash out in the early morning and just as you reach the bin, the bag breaks across your feet? No, neither do we. We agree that it is more than worth the extra dollar or two for the name brand bags that won’t break. Afterall, if the bag breaks, that means you’ll need to take a shower too!

Data Plan: Every cell phone provider seems to come out with a brand new plan option as soon as a new phone is released. While the choice of phone is completely up to you, we think that the data plan should cover not only what you think you’ll use, but some buffer room too. Instead of paying the expensive overage fees every time to go over your data limit, we recommend purchasing a more comprehensive plan to ensure you have a little extra space when you need it.

These seven things will prove their worth in the long run, and many items only require a one-time investment. If you have any other items you think we should add to our list, let us know on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you!

A Little Goes a Long Way: 11 Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness

At First Security State Bank we pride ourselves in going the extra mile for our customers. Each and every day we are fortunate enough to work with the most amazing people, our customers! We challenge you today to take the extra step with us, and see how you can help one another, together.

There are so many small and valuable things we can do to impact the life of someone else. While some kind acts are financially bound, others can be simple tasks, such as opening a door. Here are 11 simple acts of kindness that you can do to brighten the day of a stranger, courtesy of First Security State Bank.

  1. Pay for the person’s food or beverage behind you in line.
  2. Write a letter to a soldier.
  3. Donate new and used toys to daycares or children’s hospitals.
  4. Cook a meal for a family who may be without.
  5. Give a good server the largest tip you can afford.
  6. Scoop snow or do other yard work for your neighbor.
  7. Pick up trash at an area park.
  8. Offer assistance to a charitable organization with your time and skills.
  9. Bake treats for your area school’s teachers.
  10. Visit a nursing home and spend time with the residents.
  11. During hunting season donate your deer to the Iowa HUSH program to feed Iowa citizens in need.

In addition to being kinder in 2016 you may find yourself becoming happier as well! With so many opportunities to make a difference, this list will help you get started! Add your own acts of kindness and see what you can do to better the lives of others this year.

If you’d like to contribute to others in a financial avenue let us know, we’d love to help! We can assist you in remaining anonymous in donations, arrange monthly transfers, dispense cash for personal giving, and more!