Internet safety is a large topic, which covers many different areas of staying safe and secure while surfing the net. It doesn’t just apply to web searches, but can also refer to using other connected resources like email. Much of the focus in this topic is keeping kids safe while they use the Internet, but there are many tips for adults too.
Adults can practice Internet safety tactics in a number of ways. These can be broken down into tips.
- Use the latest applicable antiviral software to protect from viruses.
- Install a firewall to protect computers from unauthorized access by others.
- Disable cookies so sites can’t collect personal information.
- Back up important data regularly.
- Consider locking home computers or workstations to prevent others from accessing personal information.
- Ask Internet Service Providers about what safety features they offer.
- Give out personal information like name, address, or telephone number when chatting with others.
- Download unknown software, especially file sharing software.
- Open suspicious or unknown emails.
- Give out emails to unknown sources, as this will probably lead to huge amounts of junk mail.
- Release credit card information to unknown or untrustworthy sources.
- Believe emails or sites that propose get rich quick schemes.
Internet safety for children has similar recommendations and often involves parental supervision. Parents are the best firewall for their kids because even with some safety measures online, kids regularly get into trouble. Children need to know that like adults, their number one safety measure is to never give out personal information, i.e., name, address, general location, email, or telephone number.
There are other Internet safety tips for kids:
- Kids should be told to stay on “safe” sites.
- They shouldn’t visit unknown sites without getting parental approval first.
- Children should also agree to tell parents immediately if they find a website that is inappropriate or if they encounter someone who makes them uncomfortable.
Parents can help kids observe Internet safety rules by keeping computers in a central location. Computers with access to the Internet don’t belong in bedrooms, where more adventurous kids can get to sites that are inappropriate.
Parents can also try the following to promote greater Internet safety for kids:
- Keep tabs on emails for kids under 13, and make sure kids expect these searches.
- Look for long distance calls, snail mail or packages to kids from unknown sources.
- Disable cookies.
- Know how to use the Internet, so observing Internet behavior of kids is easier.
- Locate safe Internet search sites for children that will block most objectionable material.
- Install filters or Internet blockers to avoid accidental search returns of inappropriate sites.
In all, the Internet can be a fantastic place to find information, to be entertained, and to play games. Observing some Internet safety protocol is wise. It helps to protect both adults and children when they’re online.