With cyberbullying, inappropriate websites, online predators, hackers, scammers, and phishing, the Internet can be a dangerous place. The Internet allows users to hide their true identity, or lie about who they really are. This inability to tell who people really are allows people to lie in order to get information and use it for illegal or inappropriate activity. It’s up to you as an Internet user to use safety when on the Internet.

The only way to be completely safe from the harmful people on the Internet is to not use the Internet. Since this isn’t very realistic for most people, you can practice the following safety tips to help reduce your chances of running into Internet predators:

  1. Handling threatening emails
  2. Sharing information
  3. Searching the Internet carefully
  4. Protecting personal information

Let’s take a closer look at the rules of Internet safety:

Handling threatening emails

A threatening email is an email that could cause harm to you or your computer. That could be an email with a virus attached or one that claims something bad will happen to you unless you do what is asked. Usually the email will ask you to send money or share personal information.

Email scams can come in a variety of forms. Always be on the lookout for such scams. If you ever receive an email that you think might be threatening, delete the email or report it to your supervisor. Whatever you do, do not respond to the email or send it to anyone.

Sharing information

Identity theft is someone stealing personal information about you and using it, pretending to be you. Usually your financial information is used to buy something on the Internet. For example, if someone found out your name, address and credit card number, that information could be used to buy things in your name. That’s why it’s so important to be careful about the information you share on the Internet. So, only give your information on websites that you know are secure, or protected.

You should also never give information such as your name, address, phone number or current location to a stranger. If you’re talking with someone you think you know and they ask for personal information, be sure you know who the person is or suggest that you call them with the information.

Searching the Internet carefully

When searching the Internet for information, it’s important to be careful about what you type in the search bar. Before you press the “search” button, re-read what you’ve typed to make sure that everything is spelled correctly. A misspelled word could take you to a site that you didn’t mean to visit. A wrong turn on the Internet could take you to a website that is harmful to your computer or one that has inappropriate material.

Protecting personal information

Identity theft is a serious risk that you could face when you use the Internet. However, there are other risks that are even more dangerous than identity theft that you must be careful of when using the Internet. One way to protect yourself from such online risks is to keep your personal information from falling into the wrong hands.

A good place to start is by locking your laptop, cell phone or tablet with a password. Any website that has personal information about you should also be protected with a password. Make sure that your passwords are not easy to guess and have some combination of letters, words and symbols.

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