The internet is one of the most important innovations of the 20th century. It gives everyone an equal voice and platform to share ideas. It is also an educational tool that allows just about anyone to learn how to do just about anything. That is why the internet is so important, especially for young people today.
However, such powerful tools come with risks. In acknowledgement of Safer Internet Day, we are sharing some of our top tips for staying safe online, so that you and your kids can safely make the most of the internet.
1. Keep your Privacy Settings On
An individual can gain a lot of information about you as a person from what websites you visit, and for how long. Browsers and mobile operating systems always have the option of securing your privacy, as do sites like Facebook and Instagram. By increasing your security settings, you immediately decrease your chances of becoming a target.
2. Never Post Personal Information Online
You would never hand a total stranger your phone number, email address or home address. So there’s no reason to post hand this information out to millions of people online. Only post information you are comfortable with strangers having.
3. Practice Safe Browsing
Many cyber-criminals might target your curiosity by posting sensational or lurid content to draw you in. Once you click, your data could be up for grabs straight away. As a rule, stick to respectable and trusted sources online.
4. Make Sure your Internet Connection is Safe
Even if you have up-to-date anti-virus software and are using secure websites, your laptop is still susceptible to attack if you are using a public Wi-Fi. If you cannot guarantee the safety of your internet connection, it is best to wait until you are somewhere more secure before entering anything like bank details, home addresses, or any other pieces of personal information.
5. Be Careful What You Download
Some cyber-criminals will try to encourage you to download malware that they can use to gain more information about you. If you make any downloads off the internet, make sure you know that the source is secure and trusted. If in doubt, don’t download off the web.
6. Never Send Photos to or use a Webcam with Someone you’ve Never Met
No matter how much you trust someone, if you have never met them you should never share photos or go on webcam with them. Cyber-criminals tend can be very believable, but always ask yourself why someone is asking for pictures and videos of you. Once a piece of content or information goes online, it’s virtually impossible to get it off.
7. Keep your Passwords Strong and Private
A startling amount of online users have passwords like “QWERTY” or “Password”. These basic passwords are incredibly easy to guess and therefore hack, leaving all of your personal and financial information vulnerable to exploitation by online criminals. Make sure your password has upper case letters, numbers and symbols.
8. If Someone Starts to Make you Feel Uncomfortable, Tell a Trusted Adult or the Authorities
If someone online is trying hard to convince you of something or is trying to get you to do things you are not comfortable with doing, make sure you tell someone. You are under no obligation to obey anyone online.
9. Never Meet Anyone in Person if you have Only Met Online
It is possible to create any persona or identity online. Even though someone may appear to be the same age and have the same interests, you can never be sure that a person is who they say they are.
10. Always Ask Yourself what Someone’s Agenda is
If someone starts talking to you online out of the blue, it is worth considering why they are talking to you. Sometimes it may be benign, and most of the time it probably will be. But if someone is always driving home the same theme or is always requesting more information about you, you should see that as a red flag and block that person.
These tips will help you get the most out of the internet without putting yourself or your kids at risk. If you want any more support or information about protecting yourself and your family online, join us at our internet safety workshop on the 1st March at Welford School 10am – 12pm. Contact Aysha for more details and to sign up.