6 Online Safety Basics Everyone Needs to Know

Online safety is increasingly important as the virtual world takes up more space in our day-to-day lives. Here are six basic guidelines.

We live in a world of ever-evolving technology that touches nearly all aspects of modern life. Young people today likely don’t remember a time they didn’t have easy access to a tablet or phone. Online safety is increasingly important as the virtual world takes up more space in our day-to-day lives.

Education is one of the first and most crucial steps for protecting yourself and your loved ones on the web. This is especially imperative if you are a parent with children using the internet. Technology is powerful, and how you use it is key for the security of yourself and others.

1. Take advantage of blocking features.

Don’t be afraid to use features that prohibit certain types of content or block specific individuals. If someone acts suspiciously, blocking their profile cuts off their communication and access. As a caregiver, you get to decide what is and is not appropriate for your child online. Ensure they only visit approved sites by enabling parental control features. Many devices, streaming apps, and internet browsers allow you to restrict sites and keep out certain subject matter.

Protecting younger ones begins by thoroughly researching and carefully selecting a safe phone for kids. As a result, such child-specific devices keep kids protected. It promotes online safety by forgoing access to social media and the internet in general. Your child can listen to music, take photos, and call and text, but they won’t be exposed to possible cyber threats.

2. Stay informed on the latest apps and sites.

In a rapidly changing digital landscape, it is difficult to keep up with trending social media sites and apps. Learn the ins and outs before engaging with content or creating any type of profile. Knowledge is power in protecting yourself while dealing with unfamiliar situations.

Before allowing your child on a platform, do the research to make sure it is safe and appropriate. This also provides the chance to educate your young ones on any rules they need to follow. Check to see whether there is a suggested age range for users. Learn how to navigate the site so you understand the potential risks and benefits involved.

3. Limit screen time.

Limiting screen time establishes healthy boundaries around technology and prevents bad online safety habits from forming. The less time spent on the internet, the fewer opportunities there will be to encounter malicious online actors. Luckily, there are several programs and settings to place time limits on certain apps and overall usage on a device. This could prevent countless hours of mindless scrolling.

From a mental health standpoint, it can be beneficial to get your head out of the virtual world. Decreasing screen usage also motivates you to pursue other useful activities. Instead of reaching for the phone, you might be more inclined to pick up a good book or get some needed exercise.

4. Don’t share personal information.

It is vital to understand what is and isn’t safe to share on the internet. Addresses and identifying information should only be given on secure and approved sites. Educating yourself and others on this point could prevent accidental sharing of data in the wrong place and with the wrong parties.

Make sure your financial details, like bank account and credit card numbers, are not easily accessible to your kids or anyone else. Keep sensitive documents in a secure space, such as a locked desk drawer or home safe. Take advantage of two-factor authentication on your online accounts when possible.

5. Stay cautious about whom you meet in person.

The cyberworld increases ways to meet new people, which is not without risks. Dating apps continue to be popular, but they usually don’t conduct criminal background checks on their users. Don’t give a potential date your work or home address and don’t be afraid to block and report users if necessary. If you decide to meet someone in person, tell a friend where you’re going and whom you’re seeing.

If you’re a parent, it is crucial to show interest in your child’s friends, both online and offline. Consequently, nurture a safe environment that allows them to open up about the relationships in their lives. Consider sending their friend’s parents/guardians a quick message to open up communication. Establishing this relationship could come in handy for the future.

6. Double-check your privacy settings and passwords.

When was the last time you reviewed the privacy settings on your social media profiles? It is wise to only show your posts to approved friends and family members. If what you share is automatically made public, your online safety can be compromised. You immediately give up control of who is able to consume your information.

Ensuring you maintain strong passwords on your accounts is one of the best defenses in protecting your private details. Avoid using the same password on different sites. For each account, choose a strong password that has a mix of lower and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

A Safe Space Online

Technology and its relevance in society are here to stay. Fortunately, you can successfully navigate changing online environments with the right tools and education.

Learn what information is appropriate to share and the personal details that should remain private. Likewise, take advantage of parental control features and every opportunity to educate yourself and your young ones about safety.

In conclusion, forming the right boundaries and relationships now supports your well-being and promotes security. Establishing personal parameters fosters a safe space online and a healthier relationship with the world.