Cyber Safety 101
We use computers everyday for a variety of reasons for work and school. The Internet is a great place to do research, do homework, play games, catch up with friends and even buy things. However, like in real life, there are also a few threats and dangers lurking in the online world. This can come in the form of computer viruses, cyberbullies, online strangers, identity theft and so on. Instead of getting hurt by these dangers, the best thing to do is to be fully aware of them and how to prevent them.
While online, remember that parents and teachers can help in tricky situations. If you ever come across an online stranger or any type of threat that you know is wrong or makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to report it. In some cases, it might even be something that goes against the law. In this type of instance, the police can come in and help to stop further online crimes. Read on to learn more about the main types of online threats and how to prevent them.
There are so many different types of media available for download online. E-books, movies, music, and other types of files are all easily found. However, in some cases, websites post files that are illegal to download. For example, downloading music from iTunes after you have paid for it is perfectly fine. On the other hand, downloading that same music from a strange site that offers it for free is wrong.
- Downloading Legally – Learn about which types of media are okay to download and which ones count as illegal downloads.
- Sharing Files - Be very careful when sharing or accepting files to avoid viruses!
- Downloading Music – Is it okay to download music online if you’ve already bought the CD?
- Viruses – Watch a cartoon about computer viruses and how to avoid them.
Online Scams and Thefts
You’ve likely received spam in your email at least a few times. Some spam in emails contains false, outrageous offers, advertisements, and unsolicited links. Sometimes it might even look very legitimate but it is not. Scammers employ many different ways to trick people into giving them money or revealing their personal information.
- Online Fraud – Check if some of the weird spam emails you’ve received might be a type of spam or fraud.
- Providing Information – Find out what to do if websites ask for your personal details to sign up for an account.
- Comparing Websites – Play a game to see if you can spot fraudulent websites from legitimate ones.
The Internet has allowed scammers and hackers to be able to get your personal information much easier. This puts everyone at risk of getting their identity stolen. They then use that information to pretend to be that person. The best way to prevent this is by always keeping your personal and financial details completely private.
- Online Identity Theft – Watch an educational video about some of the ways in which scammers try to steal people’s identity details.
- Managing Your Identity – It is important to keep your personal details and contact information private online at all times.
- Privacy Pirates – Join a crew of online buccaneers and learn about online privacy and how to avoid possible threats!
Many people, including you people are on social media accounts like Facebook to keep up with friends and even family. It is a good thing to remember that most trustworthy social media sites offer privacy settings for user accounts. Ask your parents to help you set your profile to private so that strangers cannot see all of your information. When posting messages, pictures, or videos, only include things that are safe for yourself and others to see. Never post mean or untrue information about other people. Also make sure to never include your age, where you live, your phone number, or any other personal information that someone can use to hurt you.
- Profile Panic – Play a fun game to learn about keeping personal information private on your profile page.
- Social Media Privacy – Learn about the ins and outs of social media and how to ensure your privacy.
- Socializing Online – With these great tips, you can have fun online but stay safe at the same time.
- Private Social Networking – Read about how to keep your social media experience private, especially on sites like Facebook and Myspace.
The Internet can be a great place to meet friends, but it can also be a place where people can easily bully others. Since they can remain anonymous or hidden online, bullies can feel bold and say horrible things to a person directly via message or post or about that person to others. Cyberbullying can also take place publicly through multiple social medias and/or message boards. If any kind of bullying online ever occurs to you, report it to a parent or teacher immediately so that they can help put an end to it.
- Email and Online Attacks – Learn about how online bullying can occur in many different ways.
- What is Cyberbullying? – Read a description about cyberbullying so that you can recognize it easily.
- Dealing with Cyberbullies – McGruff, the no-nonsense crime dog, teaches kids about how to cope with cyberbullies.
- Be Considerate – Just like in real life, we must also be considerate towards other people online.
In real life, we are always taught to not to talk to strangers. In the same way, we must avoid strangers on the Internet. Like cyberbullies, strangers can be anonymous or pretend to be someone they are not. The most important thing is to never give your personal details to a stranger and never agree to meet them in real life.
- Spotting Online Enemies – Can you tell the good guys from the bad guys online?
- Offline Meetings – Never, ever agree to meet an online friend offline, even if they seem to be really cool.
- Online Stranger Danger – Sometimes people online may not really be who they claim they are.
- Unwelcome Messages – If an unwelcome person contacts you or makes you feel uncomfortable, these tips will teach you how to deal with it appropriately.
- Dangerous Chatting – Explore the differences between safe and bad chatrooms and online friends.
Safety Tips for Parents and Kids
It may seem like there are many rules to follow regarding online safety. In most cases, remember to use common sense and think before doing anything. For example, if you want to post a message on a public forum, think and re-read it before hitting the submit button. This can often help to avoid publicizing sensitive information or details that we may later regret posting.
- Online Safety Rules – Browse through the main rules of Internet safety to remember how to avoid online trouble!
- Important Safety Tips – Check out these valuable online safety tips directly from the FBI.
- Be Net Safe – Watch a presentation about how to stay safe while you have fun online.
- Safe Emailing – Email can be a fun way to keep in touch with friends, but make sure you know how to use it safely.
- Online Safety Test – Tag along with the Webonauts and test your knowledge to see if you can graduate from their Internet Academy.
- Internet Safety Pledge (PDF) – After reviewing all the important points of online safety, sign this pledge as a sign that you will abide with the rules.
- Safe Surfing Quiz – Take a quick online quiz to see how much you remember about online safety.