Stay Safer Online!!!!

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Sep 23, 2009
United Kingdom
Whether you are a tech-savvy teen or a silver surfer, the opportunities the Net offers are endless.
But as well as clarity being key to this form of communication, so is safety.

Safer Internet Day encourages users to reach across the generationsIt is for this reason that Insafe, a Europe-wide network which promotes responsible use of the Web, is using today's Safer Internet Day to encourage all users to reach across the generations and share what they know so that everyone benefits.

So, what are the biggest threats?


As increasing amounts of personal information are surfacing on the Web, it is essential to remain wary of the risks surrounding the ease in which our details can be accessed.
Social networking and online profiles contribute to this - giving potential fraudsters a plethora of sensitive information.

Insafe reports that more than a quarter of children in Europe have online networking profiles which can be exposed and with over 800million people on Facebook alone the danger is widespread.
'It is good to be wary about publishing your personal information even if other people are happy to post pictures of their house or their contact details,' recommends Internet protection organisation, GetSafeOnline. 'Remember what goes online, usually stays online.'

Tweaking privacy controls to online profiles is another way of making sure that your information is kept from prying eyes.

Location services

With the boom in high tech smartphones and tablets has come the rise in popularity of location-based tracking applications. Though many of the tools are used simply for fun on social networks and blogs, the service poses a severe risk as weak privacy controls may let people - other than trusted friends and family - see where you are. This may leave you or your family and friends vulnerable to things like stalking or other unwanted activities.

Once again, maintaining strong passwords is a vital way of ensuring that this does not occur. Also ensuring that 'check-ins' and other location alerts are only sent to trusted friends is fundamental to avoiding the risks that come with location services.

Online bullying

Though cyber bullying is just as likely for older users of the Net, younger surfers are particularly vulnerable. Insafe found that one in ten European youngsters have been bothered or upset by something on the Internet and eliminating this rate is something that David Cameron highlighted as a “vital objective” in 2010.

As the fight to stop online harassment continues, the role parents play in keeping children safe is growing in importance. Anti-bullying charity Kidscape advises that it is vital children know they can notify someone if they are being targeted. They also say that it is common for cyber bullies to pose as recognisable people in chat rooms and it is best to stay wary.

Yahoo! tips for keeping secure online

1) Think before you post- be proud of what you post and the reputation you build online

2) Don’t know, don’t show - make sure you know you privacy settings

3) Take action and report bullying- don’t be a passive bystander

4) Have a family chat - share what you know about online safety

5) Only 'check in' with friends you know in real life- know you geo-location privacy settings
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