Staying Safe Online – Part 1

Understanding internet safety and the dangers of the internet

Nothing has made our lives more convenient than the internet has. We can do almost anything and go anywhere just at the tip of our fingers. We can buy and sell, go to the cinemas or ‘game parks’ all on the internet. But, is it all fun and games? Unfortunately, not. The internet is not all good; it can be harmful.

The challenge of living in a connected world is that bad guys (murderers, thieves, human traffickers, etc.) can be smart but you can be smarter and safeguard yourself and your family by first understanding what internet safety (also known as online safety, cyber safety, or e-safety) is, why it is important and following some safety tips and guidelines (which will be discussed in our next article).

Briefly, internet safety is the act of staying safer (far from danger) online by being aware of the risks associated with your online activity and using a few strategies to prevent and/or avoid these risks.  Why is it important for you to play it safe? What are the risks relating to my online activity?

Playing it safe online can help keep you from being exposed to harmful, unwanted information. It can also help keep you from things that can harm your: devices (cellphones, tablets, and personal computers), personal information, as well as you and your family.

In an age where not just adults but children are also exposed to the internet, it is smart to educate them (and yourself) about safety early. This so they don’t fall victim to some common internet dangers. These dangers include, but are not limited to:

  • Identity theft: the theft of personal information such as full name, identity number, and financial information often used to commit fraud.
  • Cyberbullying: sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else.
  • Online predators: people who commit sexual abuse, especially on children. These people often use false identities to gather information about their victims and to lure them.
  • Phishing: is a cyber-crime technique used to steal data such as people’s usernames and passwords, and credit/debit card numbers by impersonating a trusted entity.
  • Malware: like an infectious disease it is software that is designed to infect, with a virus and course damage to a computing device.
  • Inappropriate content: content that is not right for its viewers.
  • Bait and switch: a sales tactic in which a customer is attracted by the advertisement of a low-priced item but is then encouraged to buy a higher-priced one.