Internet Safety 101

computerIn this day and age, most of our lives are spent on social media and other Internet-based outlets. We have so much information online for everyone to see, and it’s crucial that you know how to keep that info private and away from harm.

Know who is getting your information:

Whether it be credit card numbers, your birth date, or even an update on what you’re doing that day, be sure you know whom you’re giving that info to. My mother has a select few sites she will use her credit card on, making no exceptions, and she protects her identity that way. All of my social media accounts, although public, never give any clues as to when I’ll be out of the house or alone, etc. Never notify people of when you’re on vacation or out of the house for more than a few days.

Internet friends — How to be safe:

Your parents probably always warned you about online predators, but having online friends isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Internet friends can actually be a wonderful thing, but you do have to be careful. Make sure that you see plenty of pictures of them, and follow them on all of their social media. If things seem shady, trust your instincts and stay away from them. Make sure you have PLENTY of proof that they are who they say they are.

Weed out the bad sites and viruses:

Living through the Internet and doing business through websites doesn’t have to be a bad thing; it can make things so much easier with the new advances in technology. However, viruses and inappropriate websites can be encountered if not careful. Never click on ads or links on ANY website since they may lead to viruses. Also, stay off low-traffic websites because they may be a scam. Keep the number of sites you visit limited.

How to prevent and avoid cyberbullying:

Never stand for bullying, period — especially on social media or websites. The best thing you can do is to block them, report them, and stay off the site for at least 24 hours. If you have a trusted adult you can tell, make sure you inform them. Remember, if you feel threatened or hurt by what they are doing, even if it’s just a joke, TELL SOMEONE.

 

The Internet can be a scary place, but it can also be wonderful; it all depends on how you look at it. Always be careful, and remember to stay away from bad sites and bad people! If you remember to keep yourself protected, then the Internet can help you in all aspects of your life.

Shelbie is a 15-year-old sophomore who finds tranquility in writing and art. (also Netflix and bubble baths.) She hopes to grow up and travel the world, learning about cultures and taking pictures of beautiful sunsets and beautiful people. She also hopes to live a mischievous lifestyle, by never letting anyone tie her down, and living on the open road for as long as possible before starting a career (in art of course).

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