This is a topic that we have tossed around a few times in the staff room at school. In fact, we have actually included a section on Internet Safety called How To Stay Safe Online in the course curriculum for the older students at our elementary school. Regardless of the fact that our tips are aimed at children who are just entering their teens, the same guidelines are useful for online users of all ages. The internet is a fun and scary place to spend time. The ways in which you protect yourself and your identity will have a great deal to do with how you fare online in the long run. Here are some useful tips to follow.
5 Tips On How To Stay Safe Online
1. Keep Your Software Current
There’s a reason why your computer will tell you the odd time that it is automatically downloading and installing an updated program. That’s because the new version has some great innovative features contained in it. Often those features include special things to provide additional security to protect your data. Other times an update will include fixes to parts of the program that have been identified as a weak spot of some kind. Software that is kept current will give you a great first defense in protecting the information stored on your computer.
2. Use Good Passwords
Here’s a place where I tend to stumble. I like to think that the passwords I use for any of my online accounts are strong and effective but I’m pretty sure I’m just convincing myself of that. For example, passwords like ‘CrazyCatLady’ may have been pretty effective about a decade ago but that is no longer the case. Even in recent years a password like ‘CrAzyCaTLady’ would have been okay. Nowadays you have to be a lot better at devising your passwords so that hackers have a great deal of difficulty cracking it to access your data. I could use ‘Crazy123Cat###LadY’ for awhile and that will probably do. However, passwords that don’t have anything in them that are words are best. So, think ‘C123at#Cra!!321zee#YdAL’ and you’ll be heading in the right direction.
3. Watch What You Click
Anything that you think may be suspicious probably is. Examples include emails from people you don’t know and attachments for files you are not expecting. The key here is to be wary of things you receive that you did not specifically request from a source. Also watch the online ads as many of them are designed to suck you into a situation where you may compromise your computer data. The same goes for visiting websites you’ve never been on before. Be very careful what you click on and just because the button is flashing it doesn’t mean you have to use it.
4. Open Wi-Fi Signals Are Not Always Perfect
The coffee shop or the hotel. It’s great to have access to free open wi-fi signals when you visit these places but you have to be very careful when doing so. You never know who may be monitoring and attempting to snoop at your data. This is why it is very important not to conduct any type of business that may involve a financial component when using an open wi-fi signal. Most definitely do not reveal passwords or use credit cards in these settings for any reason.
5. Use Those Privacy Settings
One of the best things to do online is to customize your privacy settings. Social media platforms have them as do many other places you will spend time online. Don’t be afraid to ‘lock down’ your account information as tightly as possible as it may serve to be the smartest thing you did to keep your data safe and secure from anyone trying to break into it.
Remember To Play Safely Online
As I said, the internet can be both fun and scary. When you use all the tools available to you to make your time on the internet as safe as possible, you can surf the ‘net in relative calm. I know I get easily distracted when my cats are playing with me at my computer. It has caused me on more than one occasion to accidentally click the wrong thing on a webpage. Fortunately I have a secure wi-fi signal and my software is current. However, I’d hate to see what could have happened if I didn’t and the clicks took me to a place I didn’t want to be. So, be careful online, take proper precautions like reading about how to stay safe online (hey, you just did that, high five!) and your data will remain protected.