How to stay safe online

Photo credit: online safety via salcapolupo (pixabay)

According to The Telegraph, the average young person spends over 27 hours online a week. I’m sure we can all say that at one point or another we have found ourselves glued to our phone screens, and have become consumed into the huge online world. Like in real life however, we need to know the proper ways to stay safe online.

When using social media the first thing you have to do when making an account is to create a password. Try to make sure all your passwords are different, and hard to guess. That means no first names, and make sure it includes at least a few numbers or symbols. If you have as bad a memory as me, make sure they are all written down somewhere where you’ll be able to find them, and preferably somewhere other than your phone because if you lose that you’re in big trouble!! Having multiple unique passwords will ensure that your personal and financial information is kept safe, and it also makes your Facebook profile harder for your friends to hack!!

Additionally, it is important to boost your network security. To do this, you should use a wifi router in your home that has a password and encrypts your data. This ensures that a hacker can’t access your device information and online activity. It is also vital to keep your software up to date, on both your phone and computer in order for your technology to have the most recent security patches. Using comprehensive security software and backing up your data on a regular basis can save you a lot of stress.

When on social media you should check your profile settings in order to monitor who can see your information. If you share personal data anywhere on the Internet, such as your location, your school etc. you ought to make sure strangers can’t see your profile. This means that if you share a lot on Instagram or Facebook you should increase your privacy settings to tailor how much you share. If your information falls into the wrong hands, your identity could be impersonated or your location could be found. Speaking of strangers, if you arrange to meet anyone from the Internet in real life, keep your wits about you and preferably take someone you trust with you! Meet in a public place like a restaurant or a café, and have a friend come with you (or at the very least know where you’re meeting them) to make sure that the person you are meeting is who you think it is.

When putting your bank details anywhere online, including shopping websites or online banking, keep an eye out for spelling mistakes in the web address as there are lots of copycat websites. Also, make sure that the web address starts with ‘https’ rather than ‘http’ and has a padlock icon in the URL field. This ensures that the website uses encryption to scramble your data and can’t be accessed by others. Also, when using a public computer ensure that your card details are not saved to the device so that other people who use it may be able to access your bank information and use your card.

Be careful where you click! If you get any suspicious emails or direct messages from people you don’t know, that offer you free deals, clickbait or quizzes and gives you a link to click on. This is a way for hackers to get you to click on dangerous links or entice you to give up important information. Always be cautious when clicking online and don’t give away information to websites you don’t entirely trust.

If you follow these rules and keep your wits about you online, you should stay safe! Just don’t get too click happy!

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