The digital age is an era of convenience, efficiency, and opportunities. In fact, these days, technological advancements and innovations seem to appear left and right. However, one of these remains at the forefront – the internet.
Everything is at your fingertips, just a few clicks away. Vast amounts of information, social media, businesses, news, entertainment, and more. However, the internet isn’t perfect. People use it for criminal purposes such as identity theft, hacking, scamming, and more. The security of people online is becoming more and more at risk; unfortunately, not everyone takes enough precautionary measures.
A Pew Research Center survey found that many Americans do not have a clear-cut idea of some key cybersecurity aspects. Also, about 64% of Americans have experienced online dangers including credit card fraud, compromised data, hacked email and social media accounts, and identity theft.
To help you and those you know stay safe online, we’ve listed the essential internet safety facts and rules you should know.
Be Mindful Of What You Share
Smartphones, computers, and other gadgets have delete buttons; however, deleting something on the internet doesn’t guarantee that it’s gone forever. There is always a chance that someone has saved a copy of it or shared it before you were able to delete it. It is best to think that whatever you post on the internet is accessible to anyone; yes, even if you put it in a so-called safe space.
Identity theft is a big issue that has become more rampant in the digital age. Remember that the internet is a public space and any personal information, such as full name, home address, phone numbers, and more, can likely be accessed and misused by anyone. Also, it would be wise to be wary of people that you meet online. No matter how “close” you become, do not easily give them pertinent information such as credit card and bank account details.
Always Proceed With Caution
Cybersecurity isn’t straightforward since technology continues to evolve and cybercriminals are always coming up with various methods adjusting with the times. The truth is, cyber laws often stop the criminals but cannot do much in reversing the damage that has transpired. The best course of action is to take precautionary measures to ensure that you and your family do not end up as victims of cybercrimes.
If you have kids, it is important to impose parental controls. Make them understand that internet use comes with certain responsibilities. The “Don’t talk to strangers” rule also applies online. Make your kids understand that online predators do exist; that it’s always best to be wary about talking openly to strangers online. Cyberbullies and sexual predators may be masquerading as a “friend” on a social networking site. Surveys even show disturbing statistics on exploited children or those bullied online.
Make Your Account Private
Keep your social media accounts private. This way, you will be able to control who will be able to see the things you post, your personal details, and who your friends/followers are. Also, having a private account often prevents those who aren’t connected with you from messaging you unsolicited. Make it a habit to double-check your privacy settings especially on your social media accounts.
Learn How To Spot Spam and Scams
Always be carefully selective of the sites you visit, the pop-ups you click, and the emails or messages you respond to. Avoid messaging back strangers, especially when they send you links, software programs, want money from you, or seek your personal information. Be very wary of the sites that aren’t secure (have http://), don’t have social media platforms, or look unprofessional.
Learn How To Block People & Posts On Social Media
To ensure your safety on social media, you should understand how to block accounts on the various platforms. Many of them contain fake accounts that are actually run by cybercriminals. Also, there are many disturbing and inappropriate posts that shouldn’t be viewed by anyone, especially young people.
There Are Several Methods To Protect Your Internet Use
To help keep your internet use secure and private, there are various methods and tools one can utilize:
- Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to encrypt and protect your internet data from prying eyes.
- Only use a private Wi-Fi network. Public networks could be fake or be accessible by hackers and other online criminals.
- Install an antivirus software program on your devices to protect them from being infected by malware online.
- Use web browser add-ons and extensions to block inappropriate and specific websites.
- On Google Chrome, open your window in Incognito Mode so you can browse privately.
Internet security is something that should be taken seriously at all times. Do not allow yourself to be vulnerable to the various scams, cybercriminals, cyberbullies, and more that are online.
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