Surfing the web in safety should be a priority for everyone. Some users are naturally more at risk than others. Young users are particularly vulnerable on the Internet. Women also can be targets for predators. Identity theft and financial security are also hot button considerations. After these highly publicized areas of concern, attention must be paid to personal privacy and reputation.
Children and teens become targets online because they are being sought by sexual predators. The Internet gives a high degree of anonymity to these people. The same wall that protects the bad guys gives a sense of false security and excitement to young users. Because of this, parents need to protect their children. This begins with teaching him or her the basics of what to do and not do when online. In addition to this, parents need to be vigilant in monitoring their children's activity when on the computer. Software is available at a reasonable cost that will both block undesirable viewing and record keystrokes and sites that are visited by each user.
Whether a child or another type of vulnerable user, the same defensive work is needed when online to stay protected from predators. The best way to cover these is a simple list. Here are the primary areas to watch:
1. Never give your real name and address to strangers or unsecured sites.
2. Never arrange meetings with people met online in private places.
3. It is best to meet strangers from the Internet by having several friends with you.
4. Do not share personal information like age, location, or phone numbers.
5. Ask potential contacts hard questions. If the answers contradict, stop communicating with that person.
6. Keep a firewall active to prevent strangers from learning personal information by invading your computer.
7. Do not share pictures of you that includes your face with strangers.
8. If you are an adult and want to use dating sites, stay with the more reputable sites.
9. Do not use the Internet to conduct secret intimate business. This can be readily tracked.
10. Avoid email for love notes if you are cheating.
When conducting business online, be very careful about giving out credit card numbers, social security numbers, or any other type of financial information that can used to commit identity theft. There are many great secure sites that allow you to buy, sell, and conduct other business. Try to make sure that you know a little something about the site before sharing your information online.
By just using a little common sense and paying attention, the web is a pretty safe place to inhabit. However, just a moment or two of mental let down can cost you money, security, and personal safety.