In this Internet age, even children now have access to the Internet. And with the increasing number of people in every household that uses the Internet, online crimes like phishing, identity theft, and others are also becoming very common. But the Internet can also be a valuable tool for entertainment, research, communication, and shopping if used properly. So in order to make the most benefit from the Internet without compromising your and your family’s safety, there are helpful tips that you can observe:
1. Children are more prone to Internet crimes. Parents should therefore pay more attention to their children’s usage of the computer. Teach children not to give out any personal information in any Website, chat room, or to anyone asking them online without your permission. Personal information may include complete name, school, home or school address, and phone number.
2. Discourage children from having friends online that they don’t personally know. All the more, teach them not to have any face-to-face meetings with a chat mate or someone they just met online.
3. Install anti-virus, anti-spyware, and other software that can protect your computer and smartphones from unauthorized access by other people. Online geniuses have now a way of accessing all your personal files through computer viruses and spyware programs that you may unintentionally or unknowingly install.
4. Use unique and different passwords for every Website. One of the methods used by online criminals to obtain personal information from victims is to log into one of your online accounts and get your personal information from there. To prevent this, make sure to have strong passwords and unique ones for each Website you have an account on. Change your password also from time to time.
5. Don’t disclose too much information in social media sites such as Facebook. The information you share in your Facebook and other social media accounts can be accessed by other people who may have other bad intentions. The least information you divulge about you or your family the better.
6. Shop only at reputable online stores. While the Internet can be the best and most convenient way to shop, be careful about shopping from just any Website. Check if the company keeps your information secure. Read reviews also and see if there are reported claims against the company for non-delivery and others.
7. Make sure that your wireless network is password-protected and with a strong encryption method. Doing this will not only protect you from unauthorized access of your network but it will also protect you from possible identity theft. By accessing your network, attackers can also check your Website usage. Some Websites do not encrypt log-in information of users and from there they can access your personal information.
8. Do not download software unless it is from a trusted or reputable Website. When you download software from just any Website, your computer might catch a virus and spyware that your antivirus and antispyware may not catch.
9. Establish family rules about children’s usage of the Internet like hours of use and Websites they can visit. Also place computers in public room, not in your child’s room so that you can easily monitor their online activities.
10. Discuss with your family how you could all participate to protect your family from online crimes. Children will be more cooperative if they understand why you have certain rules about computer usage in the house.
There is both a good side and bad side to Internet usage. By observing the tips mentioned above, you can use the Internet while keeping your family safe. Lastly, trust your instincts when visiting new Websites and giving out any personal information. If you feel like there is danger, assume that there will be.