Probably no one would argue that one of the most useful developments we have today is the Internet. We use it to help us study, to connect us with friends, to communicate with business partners, and even to make financial transactions and to do shopping. At first glance, life seems much easier and more comfortable with digital connection around.
Online connectivity, however, has also opened the doors for several challenges and threats to the very users who find benefit in it. Our conversations, transactions and profiles may be compromised, threatening our personal safety as well as that of our family and friends.
Living in today’s hyper-connected society does come with great benefits on one side and serious challenges on the other. We must thus equip ourselves with the right tools to ensure online safety. In the Philippines, telecommunications giant Globe Telecom assists in educating Pinoy Internet users about digital safety and online etiquette through its #makeITsafePH cybersecurity and cyberwellness campaign.
So, how exactly do we protect ourselves from online threats and ensure online safety?
Online Safety: Keeping IT Safe
1. Always remember to log out.
This is very easy to do, but is often forgotten or disregarded by many Internet users. To help ensure no one gains access to your accounts without your permission, don’t forget to log out.
2. Do not talk to strangers.
Keep in mind the constant reminder we got from our elders when we were much younger — do not talk to strangers, and this applies to both online and face-to-face conversations.
3. Keep personal information personal.
Do not give away full addresses, financial transactions and other personal information to just about anybody. Of course, don’t go sharing your passwords or PINs to anyone too. It is also best not to keep posting your whereabouts on social media, especially if that implies that no one is at your home at that particular moment.
4. When cyberbullied, call an authority.
It is not safe to engage cyberbullies. Once you feel harassed by another individual or group of individuals, do not try to handle it alone. Call a friend, or better yet, call an authority. This may be an older member of the family or of the community, your teacher, your supervisor, or the police.
5. Avoid clicking on suspicious links.
Be a smart Internet user and avoid links that look strange, that has typo errors, or that came from people you don’t know. You may try hovering over the link to see if it leads to a legitimate website, or you may use online tools that check links without you having to click on them. Suspicious links may lead you to phishing or illegal sites.
Keep yourself always informed about the different online threats so you know how to best avoid them. With how the Internet has been deeply integrated in our lives, we may not be able to completely avoid it — and why would we, right? — but we can take steps to ensure that our digital transactions are safe and protected.