The global digital population last year was an estimated 4.7 billion people and it only seems to be going up from there. But as the number of people online continues to grow, so too are our safety concerns. Our team has put together some awesome advice on how to stay secure online in time for Safer Internet Day.
What is Safer Internet Day?
Coordinated from the UK, Safer Internet Day is a global campaign run in over 100 countries to work “together for a better Internet.” The event launches on February 9th this year, and although it’s typically geared towards a younger demographic, it’s relevant for anyone looking to learn more about safer internet practices!
Although the live events have been cancelled for 2021, feel free to check out different ways you can get involved here!
What threats are out there that you need to be aware of?
The average American spends 24 hours online per week – that’s a lot of time to get into trouble. While the Internet is a fascinating place, there are definitely a lot of dangers you can run into if you’re not careful. Whether it be online scams or simply being aware of what you share, we want to help you get the most out of being online while remaining secure.
Think Before You Post
When it comes to posting online, it’s definitely not in your best interest to overshare. Unless you take the necessary precautions, pretty much anyone can view what you post and share. Don’t share anything you wouldn’t be comfortable sharing with your principal, teacher, boss, family, or even complete strangers. Be conscious of the digital footprint you are creating, because it might come back to haunt you in the future.
Cyberbullying is when someone bullies you through an online medium, like chat, social media, or email. It is especially pervasive online because the brutish people behind these attacks often claim to have data or digital evidence compromising the victim.
While these people hide behind fake identities, their actions, like posting media of you without your consent or sending out your home or email address, can have real consequences.
Combat cyberbullies by blocking their accounts on your email, reporting them to platform authorities like Facebook, and changing the passwords on the accounts they contact you through. Encourage your kids to speak up if they or a friend is experiencing cyberbullying.
Sextortion is when an online entity claims to have compromising images or media of you and uses it to blackmail you into sending money or committing acts. A common one is an email claiming they have material of the recipient watching porn. This is a typical sextortion phishing scam. Delete these messages, block the sender address, and change your password.
There’s also potential, especially with young and curious teens, to get manipulated into sending compromising media they might regret later. As part of Safer Internet Day teach your children about the downside of sharing such personal things online.
Viruses and Malware
Viruses are any type of malicious software that, when executed, replicates itself on your computer by modifying other computer programs and adding its own code. Here at FixMeStick, we’re very familiar with this type of internet threat.
Unfortunately, viruses are a fact of life – almost 1 million new malware threats are released every day! To guarantee your online safety while using the internet, make sure to have an antivirus program like McAfee Total Protection. With an antivirus program like McAfee, you can actively prevent malware from infecting your device. And since it can be used on up to 5 devices, you can make sure your children’s smartphones and iPads are protected as well!
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What greater efforts are being made to make the Internet safer?
We’re all making individual efforts to combat online threats, but what else can be done?
Many countries are now promoting digital literacy programs. After the General Data Protection Regulation passed, European countries created an online age of consent policy – this helps prevent kids from giving out too much personal data online.
Teaching your young ones about the Internet and how to stay safe online should be as common sense as warning them to be wary of strangers on the street. As part of the Safer Internet Day resources, they have a children’s site, Zoe & Molly, to help kids learn about cyber protection.
If you’re interested in learning more about your online safety, Safer Internet Day has also posted some free and powerful resources to keep everyone safe online.
Online security is an important part of being online, no matter what you do! If you feel like you need to brush up on your cybersecurity you check out our Internet safety guide, or Like our Facebook page for regular updates on how you can keep your computer secure and online browsing safe.