While the internet comes with so many positive uses, it can also be a dangerous place for children and adults alike. With predators lurking on just about every site, how is one to keep themselves and their loved ones safe?
KEEPING YOURSELF SAFE
As the internet continues to grow, so does cyber crime. Here are some tips on how to avoid falling victim to internet scams.
- Use strong passwords and don’t use the same password for everything.
- Learn to recognize phishing and scam emails. Many cyber criminals reach out via false emails that may appear to be from someone you know. Never click a link in an email unless you are SURE you know it’s from someone you know and trust.
- Be careful what you download. This is another common way for cyber criminals to get access to your computer.
- Never give personal information online. This includes health information, social security number, bank account information, etc.
- Don’t use public wifi for sensitive information. Rather, wait until you are on your private wifi.
KEEPING YOUR CHILDREN SAFE
Adults and children use the internet differently. While some precautions you take for yourself are helpful when it comes to protecting your children, you may opt to include some of these tips.
- Turn on parental controls. This will automatically block explicit materials and/or sites.
- Know what your child is doing online. Are they playing video games, listening to music, or visiting social networking sites? You can’t keep them safe if you don’t know what they’re doing.
- Know who they are talking to. While you should be wary of anyone you meet online, you should be even more so of anyone your children meet.
- Know their passwords. Even though older children may see this as a violation of privacy, it may give you peace of mind and access to ensure their safety.
- Set usage limits. This can be giving them permission for select websites or setting a time limit on screen time.
- Teach them the basics. This can range anywhere from what it looks like when a computer is malfunctioning to not giving personal information to anyone.
KEEPING YOUR STUDENTS SAFE
Internet safety may start in the home, but just like anything else, reiteration is key. Here are some tips on how to keep students safe on the internet.
- Create a school internet policy dealing with usage. Have the students read and sign the agreement.
- Teach students about internet privacy. This can include how to use a computer to not give out personal information.
- Teach students about cyber bullying and encourage them to report it. Cyber bullying is a real issue with real world effects. Teach students that cyber bullying is just as wrong and as harmful as in-person bullying.
- Keep up with technology. It’s hard when technology is ever evolving, but keeping up with the latest will help to ensure you are aware of the newest risks.
- Provide resources to students. You can find some of these below.
ECPAT has released tips for keeping your children safe during COVID-19.
Shared Hope International has compiled a comprehensive tools for parents, teachers, and all those working with youth to protect children from predators on the internet.
Clean Heart provides Catholics with the necessary resources, education, and training to encourage the appropriate use of technology.
The Inter-Agency Coordination Group Against Trafficking in Persons put together a report on the trends, challenges, and opportunities of technology.
Enough is Enough has checklists and other resources highlighting different aspects of internet safety.