Staying safe on the internet
Why do I have to be careful on the internet?
- Some internet users may have bad intentions, such as:
- exploiting (taking advantage of) others
- invading others’ privacy
- fraud (tricking others in order to receive money)
- viewing or photographing others’ bodies for sexual exploitation
All of the above are crimes.
If we are not careful, we can potentially
- lose our privacy
- become victims of identity thefts
- lose money
- have our private photos sent to pornography sites
- have unwanted sexual interactions and potentially unwanted pregnancies
- get in trouble with the law
- feel really hurt
- affect our family and friends
- It is necessary to protect ourselves so we don’t become victims of crimes
How do I stay safe on the internet?
Here is a list of recommendations to help you and your family be more informed internet users and stay safe.
- Use strong passwords (a mixture of letters and numbers, upper and lower case). Don't tell your password to anyone else (except your parents or caregivers).
- Set Facebook or other social network accounts to the “privacy” setting so that only friends you really know can view your profile.
- Sit down with someone with lots of experience to go over what is and isn’t ok to do on the internet.
- Never give or send personal information online (don’t give out your name, address, your phone number, the name of your school or where you work).
- Never give out your Social Insurance Number, credit card numbers, PINs, or banking information.
- Never send personal naked or other inappropriate photographs of yourself to anyone.
- Don’t use chat rooms; it may be possible to block these with safety features provided by your Internet Service Provider or filtering software such as “K9 Web Protection”.
- Filtering programs and software are available to restrict personal information from being sent online.
- Research what “screening” tools are available. Often your Internet Service Provider has a (parental) control option which will block certain material that the Internet Service Provider deems unfit based on a “bad site” list.
- Always use a “screen name” (not your real name) when interacting online.
- Keep the computer in a common area such as the living room or kitchen.
- If you plan to meet with someone you met online, ask for your parents' (or caregiver's) permission, tell someone you trust, and take someone with you. Always meet in a public place such as a coffee shop.
- Tell your parents (or caregivers) if something does not feel right. For example, if someone wants to meet with you alone, asks to see a naked photo of you, asks for money, or asks questions that make you feel uncomfortable.
Some of the safety features mentioned above are available on parental control systems such as Norton Family.
What should I do with unsolicited emails?
An unsolicited email is an email that you did not ask for.
Here are 5 tips to keep in mind whenever you receive an unsolicited email: (Adapted from information provided by UHN Digital)
Do not click on links or open attachments from senders that you do not know.
Check links carefully to make sure they are what they claim to be. Move your mouse to hover over a link, without clicking on it. The actual link address (URL) will be displayed, so you can see if it is the same as what is printed in the email.
Ask yourself: Is the email asking you to do something urgently? Don't do what they say in a hurry.
Do not provide sensitive personal information, like usernames and passwords, to other people.
Watch for emails from people that use suspicious or misleading domain names. Some scammers use "spoofing" They use email addresses that look like those from a real person or company, but they are not. Be sure to double check.
If you get a spam email, delete it.