6 steps to internet safety
We have compared the internet to a big city full of attractions and diversions. But like a big city, the internet has its dark byways and risky neighbourhoods. You need to know how to skirt round them – especially if there are young people in your household.
How to Stay Safe online
Would you leave your front door open?
If you use a public computer to log onto webmail, a shopping site, or any website that requires you to log in, make absolutely certain that you log out again once you have finished; don't just close the window. Staying logged in is like leaving your front door ajar: someone could happen by and gain access.
Don't leave your assets lying around
If for whatever reason you stop using an online bank account, or an internet shop, or a social media site, then close your account. Don't let it sit there dormant: though it's unlikely to happen, someone could get to it and exploit it.
Would You Let Your Mother See It?
If you have teenagers in your house, tell them to take care over what they post on social networks. Say: would you be happy for me, or a teacher or your grandmother to see what you are saying? If not, then don't post it. The same goes for you: avoid getting into online arguments (flame wars, as they are known) on social media sites.
Where do you live?
Don't share identifying information with people that you only know online. And never use your name, home town or age in your usernames.
Protect your passwords
Don't give anyone else access to your online accounts or passwords. Make sure that all your accounts are protected by strong passwords.
Know Who You Are Talking To
Impress upon any young people in your household that they should never, ever arrange to meet people that they have only been in contact with on the web. If you or anyone in your household does internet dating, then use a recommended, well-established company; and when you go on a date, make sure that someone knows when and where it is taking place, and the name of the person you are meeting.
For a handy guide to protecting privacy, The Ask Leo! Guide to Online Privacy is available on amazon.
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