While exploring online media can be fun, educational and rewarding, there are safety and privacy concerns as well, as more and more of our personal information—and our personal tastes—goes online. But with a few precautions and a lot of awareness, we can browse the internet securely.
Be careful to:
Know what you are sharing and who has access to it. Tweets and many Facebook posts are available to the public unless you explicitly make them private through the privacy settings on each web site. Blog posts are public as well, unless you protect them with a password.
Be aware of geolocation. Most cell phones easily track your location when snapping pictures and posting. You should be able to turn this feature off, but be aware if you are posting your location and think about whether it’s the right thing to do. In some cases it may be helpful, like when searching for a restaurant. But in other cases it could put you in danger, like when you are on vacation and your home is empty.
Pay attention to sneaky advertising. Companies are increasingly sending personalized ads to you as you surf the web and sometimes placing them in unsuspected places on web pages. Be aware of what you are clicking.
Online banking and shopping are convenient, but be cautious when entering passwords and credit card information. Make sure you are on the right site (check the URL!) and don’t give out passwords or financial information over email.
If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Talk to your kids about their online activities and contacts.
Watch the videos about internet safety (produced by the U.S. government’s OnGuardOnline.gov project) to the right and play the game. Then decide what steps you need to take to stay safe online.