Personal Safety

Personal safety on the Internet is an issue that requires discussion in your home and applies to all family members young and old who use the Internet. Let’s face it, now that is all of us. Many individuals have become the victims of identity theft or had their child exposed to potential child molesters because of habits used while online. These problems may arise from seemingly small mistakes that one overlooks but the good news is just a few safety tips done regularly can dramatically increase your personal safety.

First, never EVER share your personal information online. interent_personal_safety
If you enter your name in a search engine and your details appear in the results, be very careful. You can have Internet accounts for professional reasons, but do not give out your personal information nor provide a link for anyone interested in¬†communicating with you at your personal email address. In case you have entered details online in some way, delete the information or close the account as soon as you realize you’ve done this and before anyone takes advantage.Teach your child this principle BEFORE they regularly use the Internet. Take the time to explain that the safe websites,

Teach your child this principle BEFORE they regularly use the Internet. Take the time to explain that the safe websites,

Take the time to explain that the safe websites, companies, and other people you may be interacting with online will never ask for personal information, PIN numbers, or other sensitive information online. This is not only a safe practice for children, it is a good computer safety tip for the whole family.

Be aware and always act knowing that online communication is never private~Internet service providers and search engines always monitor the activity from your computer through your IP (Internet Provider) address. Anyone with enough Internet intelligence can intercept and find your information from your computer and use it against you. It is important to understand how this works.

Never accept contact, gifts or meetings with strangers online~It is easy for someone who has retrieved your email address online to contact you, call you by name and befriend you and for a child, it may appear that everything is OK since ‘they know me’. Be wary of such individuals because they could be scam artists or other people attempting to gain your confidence. Do not be fooled by this and decline any invitations to chat or to meet up with anyone offering online. The best approach is to simply delete the request and for sure do not respond.

Involve your children in Internet safety measures~If your children are also Internet users, teach them about security when using social networking sites such as Instagram, Facebook, and other social networking sites. Before your child signs up for an account and accepts friends in their account talk and teach them how to choose which friends they should add to their network. Do not allow them to give out their full names, address or school details on their profiles because this is how many predators find their victims. Inform your child on how to use the Internet wisely for their own personal safety.

Know that you have the authority of closing your child’s online accounts~You do not have to wait until they have been threatened by a child molester or been affected by cyber bullying. As a parent, you can contact the administrators of the networking websites and request that the account is closed. Some websites also provide a link for parents to delete their child’s account. If your child is at risk, do whatever you can to protect them from the risks of being online.

Block all websites that contain pornographic material~Some parents think that it is enough for them to give a warning against pornographic websites to their children. You should understand that sometimes all it takes is misspelling a search keyword and all the wrong results show up, raising your child’s curiosity and exposure to inappropriate information. Contact your Internet service provider and block out all websites with explicit content from opening from your home computers.

Keep track of credit card transactions and telephone bills~If any suspicious transaction has been made by your child, such as purchasing items without your permission or signing up for suspicious services online, you will be in a good position to trace the receiver of the money and report to the authorities. Any suspicious phone calls will also be recorded on your phone bill and you can conduct a phone search to trace the source of the call. Keeping records is an essential part of personal safety. Be informed about software such as Skype that can allow you to make phone calls online, including long distance calls and without this information appearing on your land line phone bill. It is wise to have your computer settings on all home computers set to a default so that only an administrator can add software such as Skype for use.

Never send photographs of yourself online~These give any predator an upper hand to identify you or your child from a distance. Even via email, pictures can be spread around the Internet within minutes and who knows the kind of person that will land their hands on them.

These are a few of the steps you can take to ensure that your family is protected from online predators and those who are interested in gaining your personal identity.