With the internet becoming an integral part of daily life, it’s essential you use it safely and responsibly. It comes with its own share of pitfalls and drawbacks for which you need to be fully prepared. Here are some internet safety facts you should know.
The internet is like a large city full of all kinds of people – the only difference being that you can’t really see them. They could be male, presenting themselves as a female – and there is no way you can verify it. Anyone out there can build credible-looking forged profiles and use it to befriend gullible people, especially tender-aged children and teenagers. They are known as online predators that know how to manipulate and snare children into their net by also pretending to be children.
It’s essential that you don’t make friends online who aren’t actually known to you as they could be paedophiles or sexual predators – or even hackers out to get information to break into your online banking system.
Unknown to you, whenever you come online, you leave a trail of information about yourself, creating a ‘digital persona’ of yourself. This can effectively be accessed by any potential employer, stalker or predator and used for purposes that aren’t necessarily benign.
While it may be fun to share photographs online, do remember that once you have posted an image online, you lose all control over it. The photograph might turn up on the web when you have moved on in life and don’t need reminders of your previous life. Other than that, most photographs come with a date, time and place, and this information can be easily misused by stalkers and predators. Children especially shouldn’t put up photographs of themselves in school uniform as it gives away important information to predators. Aside from this, some pictures can even be used for blackmailing purposes, so think twice before posting photographs online.
It’s amazing how technology has evolved and things like laptops, tablets, smartphones and even some gaming consoles can be used interchangeably for browsing, phoning or ‘meeting’ people online. And unlike the PC, these devices can give away more information about your location and other information platforms than you are aware of. Make sure you secure your devices and keep yourself safe.
It is so easy to unknowingly divulge information about yourself while talking on a public platform online. This information can be searched and used by online predators and stalkers to create a profile of you, so be careful what you say online.