Computer safety

Using the internet is fast, easy and convenient. With websites incorporating social media and apps it is easier to purchase items without physically going to the store, or easier to find the phone number of your dentist without using the phonebook.  However, when you take those two actions and break them down, you see that there is a lot of information that the internet provides but leads to unsecure environments and gets in the way of your personal safety.

For example, when you purchase that new pair of pink boat shoes with the sparkles for yourself and the traditional brown leather ones for your dad for Father's Day, you have to enter your information. This often includes: name, address, phone number, credit card information, etc...  If you purchase these shoes on the official website, it is safe.  However, some sites portray that they sell quality products or services when in reality they are just waiting for you to enter personal information.

In order to avoid getting yourself into a pickle here are some tips to use when using the internet:

  • verify the site address or that the product/store is the official.
  • do not respond to unsolicited e-mail.
  • take caution of spam mail, most contain viruses even though they claim to offer a great deal.
  • avoid filling out forms inside of e-mail messages that require personal information.
  • if you are asked to act quickly, often times it is a scam.
  • verify requests for personal information by contacting the source using the main contact information.

Remember that if something looks to good to be probably is.

With social media constantly on the rise, especially among younger generations, it is important to be aware of what you are posting. By sharing your location and personal information on social media sites and apps, you are letting the world in on your slice of life.  This is more than just a simple status update saying, "Out to get some coffee!" When you post, "Going to Starbucks on the corner of 12th and Y street," you invite others to meet you there whether it is intentional or not. Being aware of what you say and who you say it to is important for all generations who use social media.  Whether you are in highschool, college or have a job, safety is always a priority.

So you can avoid uninvited encounters or prevent an unsecure environment:

  • be aware of who can see your profile or personal information.
  • use caution when checking into a location or updating your status about where you are.
  • check your privacy settings for your social media accounts.
  • change your passwords frequently.

Once you post on the internet, it is always there.  Even if you think you deleted a post, it may not be visible to you or others, but it is still floating around in cyber space.  This makes it accessible to hackers or others who are extremely gifted at searching for information, finding it and using it to their advantages.


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