Internet Safety Tips for All Ages
With the increasing boom of technology and increase of people using the Internet and social media, it’s important to know about Internet Safety. Often, people are victims of identity theft, scams, and even vicious predators that result in severe emotional and physical injuries (and often times death) as a result of not knowing how to be safe on the Internet.
It’s not just children that are at risk, adults who are not familiar with technology can also fall prey to the dangers on the Internet. Prevent yourself and your family from abusing the Internet and hurting others, and from becoming victims to hackers, thieves, and predators.
Internet Safety Basics
1. NEVER share personal information on the Internet!
Children should never share their location, full name, school they attend, address, phone number on any social media platforms, even if it is not set to display publicly! Also make sure that your GPS location is turned off on your phone when posting to social media, even uploading images, as predators can see exactly where you are if it is on.
Adults can and do use online bill payments and account management for various utilities and favorite shopping websites, and that is OK as long as it is secure. Make sure you check the web address and verify you are actually on, for instance, amazon.com or verizon.net and didn’t get redirected to another website. If you are entering personal information, especially a credit card number, verify that there is also an “s” after “http” in the web address. For instance, instead of http://www.amazon.com/checkout, it displays https://www.amazon.com/checkout. That “s” means the webpage you are on is secure.
2. REMEMBER that once something goes online, it is there FOREVER!
Children and adults be careful of what you post, whether it be inappropriate, hurtful, or degrading. It will live on the Internet forever and can spread like wildfire. Think before you comment or post, “Is this something I would want my kids to see? Will this hurt someone? Could this hurt me?”
3. NEVER agree to meet someone in person that you met on the Internet!
Children, never, ever, ever. The risk is far too great. If you just don’t want to listen to reason and you feel this person is really who they say they are, tell your parents, get their consent, and make sure you meet in a public place WITH your parents or guardian.
Adults often times find friends and companions on social media this day-in-age. Use your common sense. Like we just told the children, meet in a busy public place and NEVER alone. Take at least 1 friend with you to decrease the chances of injury and abduction.
4. NEVER give out your passwords.
Children, your friends can post under your account and you can get in a LOT of danger if the wrong person sees it, and you can also lose friends if the person who you give your password posts inappropriate and mean things.
Adults, would you really hand out the keys to your safe?
5. NEVER post mean things and anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face.
Children, this can be difficult (I, too, was a kid once), so just stop and think before you post if what you will say will hurt someone’s feelings and if you would want the same thing said to you. Cyber-bullying is not OK and can lead to serious issues. Are you prepared to be the reason that someone becomes depressed and withdrawn or commits suicide? You would in fact feel better about YOURSELF if you did the right thing and stood up against cyber-bullying and you would also help others. Win-win situation.
Adults, I can hear some of you saying already, “I would totally say it to their face.” Keep in mind whatever you say or post on the Internet CAN go public without your permission (screenshots do exist) and potential employers often look on social media to see what kind of person they are considering to hire. Not to mention the emotional damage you can cause to another person. Let’s grow up now, shall we?
There are many Internet Resources available for all ages. If you are a parent, talk to your kids about safety online. If you are an adult, learn the dangers that can happen. Below are great resources for Internet Safety that we hope helps you and yoru family make good internet choices.
Internet Safety Resources and Videos by Age Group
NetSmartzKids — A Program of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Teaches online safety with fun cartoon graphics, songs, games, and lyrics.
ABCYa — Fun little cartoon that teaches 5 Internet Safety rules.
NetSmartzTeens — Great for Teenage children because this lgives videos of real-life stories of teens that did not practice Internet safety.
StopBullying.gov — Information and tips to prevent cyber-bullying
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services — Sometimes the only way to really get it, is to hear real-life survivor stories.
Mind What You Do Online — A pdf brochure that explains viruses, phishing, and how to prevent identity theft, among other Internet safety issues that adults face.
Identity Theft Resource Center — a list of how to prevent online identity theft with great, detailed information.
Additional resources for all ages:
National Crime Prevention Council
Stay Safe Online
Have a question or a tip that you feel is important to Internet safety? Please leave a comment below!