There are so many threats that are becoming greater concerns to the computer user – some people may decide to stay off the Internet altogether. This is a classic overreaction, however, and there are many tools available online that can be completely safe and valuable. The Internet lets users check local and distant weather; catch breaking news updates; shop from the convenience of home; share messages, files, and photos; research an infinite number of topics; stay connected to family members and friends; and more. From kids to teens to adults, the Internet is a valuable tool for everyone and these safety tips are designed to maximize that value while minimising personal risks.
Safety Tips for the Internet: From Logging On to Logging Off
For proper Internet and computer safety, users should follow safe practices at every stage of computer use – from the moment the computer is turned on until it is turned off.
Internet safety begins with a safe computer and a safe way to access the Internet.
- Install protection software on all computers that will access the Internet, including spam blockers, anti-virus programs, pop-up blockers and firewalls.
- Create different profiles on an Internet-connected computer to protect personal information for each user.
- Choose secure passwords that are a combination of letters and numbers, and do not share passwords with unauthorised users.
- Avoid using the same passwords for multiple accounts.
- Set parental controls and filters if available to screen questionable Internet content.
Surfing the Internet
Once users are online, some simple safety tips can keep both a computer and the user’s personal information secure.
- Only visit reputable websites rather than personal pages from unknown individuals.
- Use only one credit card for online shopping to avoid exposing multiple cards to fraud or theft.
- Monitor children’s Internet usage including the sites they visit and how long they are online.
E-mail, Chatting and Messaging
Sending and receiving e-mail and instant messages can make a computer user vulnerable, but these safety tips for the Internet can help keep accounts protected.
- Report and delete any spam messages.
- Avoid e-mail scams that ask for money, credit card information or other personal details.
- Do not give out e-mail addresses indiscriminately.
- Do not open e-mails with unexpected attachments or from unknown senders.
- Choose an anonymous username if possible to avoid identifying details such as age, school, gender or location.
- Observe proper online etiquette when chatting and report offensive behaviour to chat moderators or other authority figures.
- Do not send pictures to unknown individuals.
- Properly log off accounts when using a public or shared computer to avoid unintentionally giving another person access.
- Never agree to meet anyone in person whom you’ve only met online
There are many ways to use the Internet as an effective and efficient tool as well as a great social connector, but all computer users should take notice of the proper safety tips for the Internet to ensure their online behaviour does not make them vulnerable to fraud, theft or other criminal acts.