What are the best privacy settings for my computer and smartphone?

The place to go to protect your computer against privacy invasion is your web browser. When you go online, websites install cookies on your computer that track your movements. Some cookies can be beneficial, such as those that remember your login names or items in your online shopping cart. But some cookies are designed to remember everything you do online, build a profile of your personal information and habits, and sell that information to advertisers and other companies. (Check out these kid Web browsers.)

Take a look at the privacy settings offered in your browser (usually found in the Tools menu) to see whether you can fine-tune them to keep the good and block the bad.

Privacy settings on smartphones vary, but you can tighten up privacy with these precautions:

Turn off location services. That prevents apps from tracking your location.

Don't let apps share data. Some apps want to use information stored on your phone (your contact list, for example). Say no.

Enable privacy settings on apps you download. Make sure your teens are using strict privacy settings on services such as Instagram and Facebook.

Be careful with social logins. When you log onto a site with your Facebook or Google username and password, you may be allowing that app to access certain information from your profile. Read the fine print to know what you're sharing.

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