How often do you use the internet? Whether it’s checking Twitter, emails or online banking, the average adult spends up to 27 hours a week online (The Telegraph), and this number only looks set to increase.
So with much of our lives spent online, surely we should be just as cautious about our online safety as we should our personal safety? The simple fact is, not enough people know how. Just like many of us know that it would be unwise to walk down a back street alone at night, not enough of us know how to safeguard against online dangers.
To help, we’ve been quizzing our in-house eSafety experts and here are their top tips for keeping safe online:
Good news! You’re in the right place. The first step towards eSafety is learning about the measures you can take to get there.
Don’t use the same ones twice. If a site you use gets hacked, that means that hackers will be able to access more of your personal accounts elsewhere. Try varying it – for example if your password is 123apple456 then you could set your Sainsbury’s online shopping password to sains123apple456burys, but it’s up to you to make up your own rules.
Beware emails and attachments from senders you don’t trust or you think look suspicious. A good rule of thumb is to check the email address that it came from to make sure it’s legitimate, as lots of hackers nowadays try to pose as your bank or building society. Your spam filter should do most of the work but still be on your guard.
Information like your date of birth, postcode, address, full name, place of work, bank details or personal telephone number shouldn’t be posted or shared online unless it’s required. Ask yourself, does the person asking really need this information? If the answer is no, then don’t provide it. Access to just one piece of this information can allow a stranger to find out even more about you. Providing your full date of birth also makes you more vulnerable to identity fraud.
By taking advantage of the privacy settings available to you on social media, you are protecting your personal information and photos from being accessed by people you don’t know or trust, who may use the information maliciously.
Delete old accounts that you no longer use. There’s no need to have information out there unnecessarily.
Using a trusted antivirus software is one of the most common ways to protect your computer online. It will help detect and remove viruses, and warn you when you are about to download something you’ll probably regret later.
Are you responsible for children, whether at home or at school? The next few are for you:
Lots of children nowadays have access to webcams and other devices. Monitoring or restricting their usage can prevent problems associated with this kind of online communication, such as online bullying.
Make sure children know they can and should come to you if a stranger tries to establish communication with them online. It’s a subject the government have been clamping down on recently in their safety campaigns.
Safer Internet Day is coming up and there are a great range of resources to help teach online safety at https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/safer-internet-day/sid-2017/education-packs
The UK Government’s weighty 75 page ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ can be difficult to follow but sets out important statutory guidance for schools – Lancashire Safeguarding have broken down the points related to online safety in this guide: https://www.lancashiresafeguarding.org.uk/media/19149/KCSIE-2016-Making-Sense-of_Sept-2016_4116.pdf
Want to get your kids involved in learning for themselves? CBBC’s “Hackers’ Top Tips” is a great place to start.