Internet Safety Tips For Children Of All Ages
With summer in full swing, it seems that two things are happening; it’s hot out and the NSA is watching your every move. I’m playing Russian roulette with the crank on my thermostat in a half-hearted attempt to cool the house down or make it so unbearable I’m forced to leave. But by the title of this article, I’ll leave you to your assumption. Anyway, here are just a few quick Internet safety tips to keep your stuff safe from predators and hackers. Except the NSA, they have everything. Like, literally everything.
Dump your browser, upgrade to a new one
I know it can be hard to leave what you’re used to, but if you haven’t already, you need to download a newer browser. This is one of the best things you can do to thwart online problems. This is because newer browsers have more updated features such as built in pop-up blocker, spyware blocker and Trojan Virus detection systems, just to name a few. These features help greatly in keeping your identity safe; but nothing is perfect without thought, bringing us to our next tip.
Seriously, this is the biggest thing you can invest in. And by that, I mean take the half a second that it takes for your brain to fire off a synapse and realize that if it’s fishy you should give it a second look. Blindly clicking and following into something that seems to be just what you needed at that exact moment may seem like a miracle, but chances are its’ not. This is where a newer browser comes in; browsers like Google Chrome will automatically notify you if a site is a confirmed phishing site.
Never go Phishing without a pole
Phishing sites come in many forms, but there’s a 99% chance you have seen at least 100 since you first started using the Internet or email. A phishing site is a site that’s sole purpose is to collect your information, whether by keylogging (recording what you type) or by you manually entering information. An easy example is anything inside of your spam folder in your email, with some of the more “impressive” sights designed exactly like the original site. A favorite example of this are the phishing sites designed around Blizzard’s Battle.net website, encouraging players to enter their Battle.net information by telling them they had been chosen to be in Blizzard’s flagship MMORPG World Of Warcraft Beta. Blizzard doesn’t want you in their beta… but it’s okay.. they don’t want me either .
Well, chances are you’ve drunk the Koolaid and made a Facebook page and with that received the lectures on what you can’t put online, so I”ll keep it short. Don’t shit talk your boss, don’t shit talk your friends and don’t send a dick pic if there’s a chance the other party will get pissy and decide to expose you (if you’re wondering the chances, it’s about 99.100 percent it could happen, just show it in person like a normal idiot). Oh, and if you ever think about posting drama on Facebook remember one thing, every time you do it, someone thinks less of you. Keep your profile on friends only, and as a helpful tip for both bosses and annoying people, tell them you’ll add them and ask for their profile, so just in case you don’t want to add them they don’t have yours.
Now assuming everyone reading this is a law abiding citizen who does not download things illegally because Utorrent does not work for them or some other reason, here are a few tips regarding downloads. Always scan first if you can. If you have a virus protection program, as soon as you download it scan it to make sure it’s not a Trojan or some other nasty thing. Just as a general rule of thumb, if it downloads a file ending with .exe (example.exe) it’s a virus, unless you are getting that particular program from that specific website. If you think you may have downloaded a virus, you can always check inside your browser in your downloads folder, locate it and click “Show in Folder” then right click the program and delete it.
Infographics or known as “How to/Life hacks” are awesome, I won’t argue that. However, with every trend that pops up, there are bound to be a few bad ones. Rule of thumb – the wierder it sounds, the more likely it is to be painful and/or dangerous. If you’re ever unsure about them, you can always Google search the image and find out what the internet has to say about it.
This is one of the newer annoyances for law enforcement, but it has just as much legitimacy as any physical threat. If you or someone you know is being cyberbullyed, don’t wait; just block them. You can take a screenshot of the offense and send it to facebook using the report feature. And if it persists after words, contacting local law enforcement is a viable option as many of these agencies are becoming more adept to dealing with these situations. The most helpful advice, however, is to walk away from the computer. Seriously, what’s the point of having “friends” on facebook if when you need them you can’t see them in person.
For more information on the browsers mentioned you can visit these links:
Mozilla Firefox – All around great browser, friendly User Interface
Google Chrome – Faster browsing, increased optimization options, parental controls available
Safari – More optimized for Apple Mac users
Opera – Most customizable, recommended for people with adequate knowledge of computers.
Image Credit: Tatyana Vyc / Shutterstock