Internet Safety: Tips, Rules, Online Red Flags, and Cyber safety guidelines
We live in a world where online existence has become as crucial as learning walking in our childhood. We humans forget that the internet is a system where every information is an open book for strangers with bad intentions. The internet can be a fantastic platform for learning, entertainment, communication, sharing, and meeting new people.
Studies have proved that 71% of parents neglect internet safety in their children after the age of fourteen.
Nevertheless, it might also turn into a life lesson if not taken necessary precautions. Almost every site and application online ask for registration before login in with your names and phone numbers. Here is where internet safety plays a compelling role to keep you, your kids, and others safe. Sites and applications that are safe have this information hidden or encrypted to prevent leaking.
According to a survey by Shared Hope International, one out of every 8% allows the use of the internet to their child from the age of two.
Hence, the small line between getting into trouble online and having healthy online activity is Internet Safety.
How does online privacy violation take place?
Cases of cybercrime and cyber-bullying have become common in the digitalized age. It can result from careless or overly intimidating behavior, whereas in kids, it might be innocence and curiosity. How so ever, the impact and consequences are intense and ugly.
In the case of kids, they interact with the outside world through online means and are unaware of predators pretending to be their friends. Whereas teenagers are socially vulnerable in their growing years. They try to seek validation online, increase the number of followers and friends.
Without actually knowing the person behind the profile, they tend to get too involved online. They might induce a child to share their personal information, address, phone number, or convince them to meet. Most of the crime cases among kids and teenagers take place online.
A report by NCMEC states that 15% of children from the age of 10 to 17 have been the victim of internet sexual exploitation.
Internet safety for kids
As parents, you cannot stop your children from using the internet as it is a part of their school projects, communication with their friends and teachers, and playing games.
However, few guidelines can help to maintain cyber safety for your kids. Conscious precautions that help in internet safety for kids are –
- Educate yourself on how to stay safe online and educate your kid to identify the limitations of sharing things online. Make sure to know your kid’s online activities.
- Keep the computer in an open place in your house and not their bedrooms.
- Notice the change in your kid’s habits. (Spending long hours online, sudden distant behavior with family, receiving calls or messages from unknown people, and so on.)
- Use parental control tools on the devices used by your kids. This may help you to set control on their internet usage, block certain inappropriate sites and content.
- Be open and understanding towards your child, as they should not hesitate to face anything upsetting or frightening online.
The Federal Law called “COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act)” is designed to help you with internet safety for kids below 13 years. This works by confirming parents’ consent before the child shares personal information online – name, phone numbers, address, security numbers, etc.
Internet safety tips for teens and adults
When it comes to teens, it is quite challenging to control what they access on the internet. They are more likely to get involved in making new friends and surfing unknown sites on the internet. It is common among teenagers to be easily convinced to share their passwords with anyone they feel connected with.
Teenagers are naturally rebellious when it comes to stopping themselves from doing something. Therefore, it is important to talk with them openly about online safety and discuss the disadvantages. Without creating pressure or force, parents can educate them on the dangers of getting involved with strangers or sharing personal details.
Mentioned below are some internet safety rules that must be followed by teens and adults to stay safe from cybercrimes –
- Keep your personal information like real name, address, passwords, etc. discreet
- Always remember that the username and passwords are useful information and must not be shared with anyone
- Always keep strong passwords (at least 12 characters, 1 uppercase letter, one lowercase letter, 1 number, and 1 symbol)
- Protect your password by using a password management system
- Erase your internet memory regularly
- Always keep all your social media accounts secure and regularly change their passwords
- Avoid the use of the internet for any fraudulent and illegal activities
- Be very careful when you meet strangers and unknown people
- Always post cautiously
- Only use secured websites to do online shopping
- Always keep the privacy setting on and operate on a secured internet connection
- Be careful when downloading
- In the case of minors, parents are responsible for all their online activities
How to identify red flags for cyber safety
- Do not trust profiles that have no profile photos or details or have only one photo. Online accounts are not created for not existing fully on that app or site with no background.
- See the red flag when a person or a site asks for inappropriate or just too much of your information than required. Do not share images with an unknown person or site online for a time to pass.
- Sometimes, online hackers or cybercriminals might send you threatening or inappropriate emails, texts, or posts. These are only to urge you to respond to them, as your response can help them get access to your personal information quickly. These emails and messages are nothing but randomly sent to thousands of people and can be dangerous only if you respond to them.
- Extremely unbelievable offers and discounts are often misleading and fraudulent. Be aware and confirm if the company/ person/ site is legal and actually in existence.
- Consider the alert messages and notifications your mobile or computer security gives you. It can be a dangerous site or attempt to rob money or steal your details. Immediately report such sites or apps.
- Do not ignore the stalker! Often, we ignore or do not pay attention to weird people on the internet. However, make sure you notice if someone stalks you online constantly or with an anonymous account. Report them as soon as you get them.
How to stay safe online
- Set strong passwords to your every account. Do not involve words or numbers describing your birthdates, names, or hobbies, as these are easily hacked.
- Secure your internet and WIFI connection. Make sure your network and internet source are valid and have proper authority verification.
- Always keep your devices up-to-date. Having the latest software in your computers and mobile can best protect you from viruses, malware, and other online scams and threats.
- Always use two-factor authentication for your g-mail, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or any other online accounts. This will always ensure that you are notified and asked for confirmation before logging in to your account.
- Parental control for kids is very important on websites and searches. Don’t also forget to set parental control on games and gaming sites as most unwanted pop-ups and unnecessary details are asked from the gaming sites that are scams or dangerous.
- Teach your child to deal with trolls on the internet, as most of them are to excite kids into responding. It not just results in cybercrime but is also bad for your child’s mental health.
- Many children are attracted to luxury technology; they love buying smartwatches. Be aware before buying a smartwatch; make sure you take it from a trusted brand and well-known shops as location-tracking capabilities can help hackers exploit your child’s location if it is not secured.
Overall view on internet safety
The Internet can be a great place only if it is handled with consistent safety measures and healthy online activities. Be it kids, teenagers, or adults; the online predators may find their way into your information and accounts. Nevertheless, if you take conscious steps and precautions, nothing can go wrong with your personal information.
With the growing use and craze of the internet, it is difficult to control kids and teenagers from using it. But, if proper parental controls are established, and open communication with children is initiated, many cybercrime cases may come down effectively.
Internet safety is not just important for kids and teenagers; it is equally important for adults. A recent survey stated that one out of every ten adults is prey to cybercrime.