Last month I blogged about digital drama. If you haven’t read that blog yet, scroll down and check it out after reading this. I want to talk more surfing safely in this blog. If you have spent time online, duh right, then you have probably found yourself a time or two…or three, in a precarious situation such as being harassed or stalked, receiving inappropriate images or emails from someone you don’t know, cyber bullying, or maybe even a request from someone you barely know to meet you in person. Here are some simple tips to remind you that you must be wise and be safe online.
your name isn’t for everyone - – Never give out your full name, address or number to anyone you don’t know and trust well.
friends aren’t always friends online - – If you don’t know the person in person, be careful what you say and how long you stay in communication online.
keep email private – - Keep your primary email address private and only for people you know and trust. Block unwanted users.
ego surf – - Put your first name and last name in quotes in a search engine and see if there are any results regarding you. You just might be surprised at what you find.
it’s okay to ignore – - If you are in a chat room using IM, always check out what options/preferences are available to you and take advantage of the “block all users except those on my buddy list”. If anyone bothers you or says something that makes you feel uncomfortable, put them on block or ignore!
it’s your $$$…guard it! – - Never give bank account or credit card info to anyone unless you are shopping with a well known or highly rated online business. Check for secure transaction info. The best companies will have many security devices in place. You may see a gold lock at the bottom of the page to indicate a secure site. When giving any bank details or other information, make sure the connection is secure. Not every site which runs HTTPS or accepts payments is trustworthy.
just because they ask, doesn’t mean you tell - – Countless web sites ask you to give them your full name, date of birth, address, phone number, email address, etc. Give as little info as possible. If they insist, leave the site. There are many survey sites that pay you for answering questions and filling out forms. If you do not want to receive junk mail or get put on a telemarketer list, look for a small box near the bottom of the page that asks if you want to receive information and offers from other companies. The best sites will have a statement listed that they will not sell your name to other companies.
change your password - – Don’t use the same password for all of your online accounts. Make your password something original. Mix it up and change it often. Make sure to write down your password every time you change it. If you think someone might know your password, change it immediately! Changing your password constantly makes it difficult for people to hack into your accounts.