If you were born after 1990 you are most definitely part of the technology-driven generation. While the Internet might make your life fun and exciting—you can instant message, video chat and scour funny videos, it can also be very harmful and dangerous tool if you don’t know how to take necessary online safety precautions.
Photo (cc) P i c t u r e Y o u t h
Below are the top 10 online safety tips every girl should read in order to make the World Wide Web a fun, yet safe, environment :
1. Don’t publish personal information. You wouldn’t give your cell phone number and home address to a stranger on the street, so don’t make the information easily accessible to people online. This also includes not posting your family’s information.
2. Use an avatar. Instead of posting a real picture of yourself as a profile picture, replace it with an avatar. This will prevent people from targeting you because of your looks or age.
3. Don’t ever accept friend requests from people you don’t know. If you have never met the person trying to add you in the flesh, do not accept their request, even if the person looks cute in their profile picture. There are tons of child predators who pose as young tweens and teens just to lure you in and take advantage of you. If you have already accepted these kinds of friend requests and they have sent you inappropriate messages or any kind of material that has made you feel uncomfortable, tell your parents about it immediately and report it to the networking site. On a similar note, never agree to see someone you “met” online. If you truly think that this person checks out, then tell your parents about it and ask them if it’s ok to meet them. If your parents say ok, then agree to meet in a public place and bring at least one parent along.
4. Change the settings on social networking sites. You want to make sure that your profile is set to “private”—this way, only those you approve of can view your profile. On a similar note, make sure that all your photos, including both your albums and profile pictures, are changed to the “friend’s only” setting. You don’t want random people to have access to your photos.
5. Don’t post proactive or suggestive photos. Even if you change your private settings and personally have met everyone on your social networking site, that doesn’t mean that your “friends” won’t use the photos for their own personal use—or worse, using them to promote some underground porn site (this happens frequently). And understand that in the digital world, photos float around forever. So even if you delete them, it might not make a difference. The best thing to do is to not post these kinds of photos in the first place. A good way to determine what photos are deemed as appropriate would be to ask yourself would mom and dad approve of this photo?
6. Never post “real time” activities. Don’t jeopardize your safety by publicly announcing to people where you will be and at what time.
7. Don’t view or click on weird emails, links or URLS. If a friend sends you something in the regards of “check this out” with no explanation or “click here to get free stuff” you could accidently encounter a virus. It’s not that your friend is doing anything malicious, but sometimes they can get hacked and these hackers will send viruses to people using your friend’s contacts.
8. Change Password frequently. To prevent hackers in general, it’s best to change your password every month or so. You don’t want to risk someone getting into your account and impersonating you either by posting untrue and embarrassing content or locking you entirely from your account. Never choose a password that is so difficult to remember you have to write it down, but don’t make it too easy such as your name or your birthday. With that said, ever share your password either, not even with your best friend.You can check our tips on how to create a strong password and how to prevent yourself from hacking .
9. Don’t respond to threats or rude comments. In the age of cyber bullying it’s important that you don’t respond to malicious comments. It might be hard not to defend yourself, but you need to make sure that you come on top as the better person. Instead, print out copies of the rude comments or threats so that you have proper documentation of when it took place. Most importantly, tell your parents and school administrators about it. It’s also important that you don’t participate in this kind of activity and don’t post gossipy or hurtful information about friends or classmates online.
10. Ask your parents before downloading content or making purchases. It’s always important that you ask for permission before buying anything online or downloading music and or movies. This is because some illegitimate web sites will abuse your parent’s credit card information; and if you download illegal content you obtain not only computer viruses, but you can also jeopardize putting your family into thousands of dollars in debt ( fines for music piracy is very pricey) or worse—jail time.