Safer Internet Day: Let’s Talk About Internet Safety
Safer Internet Day was on February 7 this year. The hashtags #SaferInternetDay, #SID2017 and #PlayMyPart were used by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and others to raise awareness about the importance of protecting personal information online. This inspired us to write a blog on the topic, as it is an opportune time to leverage this awareness and help educate children and young adults about how to be safe on the Internet.
Although the focus of Safer Internet Day is typically about child safety and Internet safety for kids, the topic offers a good opportunity to have important conversations about ways to keep your teen safe and review safety tips that even adults can benefit from.
Internet safety for kids
The Canada Safety Council suggests that the single most important element in child safety on the Internet is to make the following very clear: Safe kids never give out personal information online without checking with their parents. This should become a mantra for all parents as it is the modern day version of “do not talk to strangers”.
Conversation is important. In order to ensure that Internet safety is practiced every day, parents need to talk about it often. It is also important to actively monitor online habits so that parents can be confident that their message regarding child safety is well understood. The Canadian Centre for Child Protection operates Cybertip.ca, a national hotline for reporting online exploitation of children and minors. Bear in mind that any inappropriate electronic communication between an adult and a minor is illegal in Canada.
How do I keep my teen safe?
Since teenagers are at a time in their lives when their adult identity is still emerging, they typically seek out peer approval, which can make them vulnerable to online bullying. Online bullying can be challenging for teens to handle on their own, so it’s important to monitor online activity to keep your teen safe. The good news is that the Internet can also be a very supportive place and a great resource to help teens cope with the pressures of growing up. In particular, LGBTQ teens and others have rallied together to create the “It Gets Better Project” where people from all walks of life contribute videos of encouragement to put cyber bullying in perspective and let teens know that things may not be as bad as they seem.
You can also talk to your teenager about being careful about chatting with strangers online and caution them to be wary about what information they share, review privacy settings and review public profiles in all online forums. Consider having frequent discussions with your teen about Internet safety.
Online safety tips for adults
Adults also should take online safety very seriously to protect from identity theft and other fraud. For example, never send credit card numbers via e-mail and never click on suspicious links embedded within an e-mail that claim to be from your bank, PayPal or any other company you deal with, unless they are in your “safe list”. Always check the URL address for typos or odd domain names, which are a sure indication of a phishing site which look for personal information. E-mail scams to avoid include: fake lotteries, fake job offers, banking scams, inheritance scams and more. Always enter the URL in the browser separately to perform a website safety check.
The main takeaway regarding cyber security for adults should be to watch out for deals that seem too good to be true, as they usually are.
If you do encounter fraudulent activity on the Internet, do your part for Internet safety and report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. Online safety can be improved if we are all vigilant and report anything suspicious.
Safer Internet Day is a time to have a conversation about all the ways we can keep ourselves and our families safe so we can relax and enjoy the simple pleasures of our High Speed Internet service. Take the time to talk to your children, friends, and elderly relatives (who can be particularly vulnerable to fake online deals and e-mail fraud) about what they can do to keep themselves safe. Take some time to review the privacy settings on all of your social media websites, and make sure that you are protected while having fun online.
We hope that you’ve found these Internet safety tips useful. At Acanac, we’re working hard to be the High Speed Internet provider you can depend on to bring you the simple joys the Internet has to offer at an amazing price. We hope you’ll consider making the simple switch – call or click today to learn all about our High Speed Internet plans so you can start surfing worry-free.