DATA USAGE AND INTERNET LITERACY: CORRECT BEHAVIOR ONLINE
The internet is a relatively new creation and so people still aren’t quite sure how to behave online. The internet is undoubtedly an extremely valuable resource, but if not used correctly it can pose some threats. Below are some tips to ensure when using the internet you keep yourself and others safe.
To use many online sites, including social media, streaming sites and online shopping, you will have to create an account which is protected by a password. This ensures that only you can access your account so that nobody else can access or make changes to your personal information, communicate with others on your behalf, or make purchases from your account. In order to enhance the security of your accounts, use a strong password which is difficult for someone else to guess. Weak passwords include “1234” or “password”. It is also not a good idea to use your birthday or the birthdays of your family members as these are easy to guess. A strong password makes use of uppercase and lower case letters, numbers and characters. Try not to use the same passwords for different accounts. Try to choose passwords that you will remember, or write them down, but if you write your passwords down don’t leave them in plain sight or near your computer.
Don’t give out your full name, phone number, address and bank details to anyone online who you don’t know or trust. Social media can be a great way of making new friends but remember to be careful because some people pretend to be someone they’re not online. If someone you don’t know asks for these personal details don’t give them away until you are completely sure you trust them. This is true even when negotiating jobs or deals. Limit what you share about yourself and your life on social media because people can see and gather this information about you, which could compromise your online accounts and maybe even your physical safety.
Phishing emails are emails and messages that appear to be from legitimate companies such as your bank or stores you’ve used which provide links to fake websites that ask for your personal information. If you get an email like this, look very carefully at the email address to see if it matches completely the email address of the company the sender claims to represent. If you are suspicious about an email, don’t click on any links it provides, and forward it to the official email address of the company it claims to be sent from. The company can then confirm whether or not it was them who sent you the email. Also be wary of emails or pop-ups that claim you have won lots of money or ask you to transfer money to someone in need. These are usually scams.
The internet allows us to express our views on any subject or person to a large audience, without having to face the person or people we are talking about. This makes it easier to offend others without facing any consequences. When writing messages or posting statuses online, remember that anyone can see them, and anyone can be hurt by them. Avoid using offensive language and be careful when using humour and sarcasm as this could be construed as being hurtful from someone else’s point of view. Don’t write anything about someone online that you wouldn’t want to have written about yourself. It is particularly important not to make comments that could be interpreted as being sexist, racist or homophobic. Try not to come across as hostile and don’t spread any lies about other people. Being aware of other people’s feelings online is important because it prevents them from being hurt, and prevents you from facing some sort of retaliation.