June 20, 2019
June is National Internet Safety Month and the Utah Attorney General’s Office is urging the importance of digital security and privacy.
Whether it’s on a phone, computer, or gaming platforms, the internet can be accessed through apps, browsers, and games. The increase in the prevalence of smartphones has additionally created a rise in internet usage. According to Pew Research’s 2018 Teens, Social Media & Technology report, 45% of teens say they use the internet “almost constantly” while 44% say they go on several times a day. No matter what platform you use to access the internet, it’s important to practice digital safety.
Share with care
The internet has no delete button. Anything that you put on the internet will stay forever, even if you delete the original post. Before you post, think about who might see the picture or words, whether it be your parents or your future employer.
Make sure your internet connection is secure
Before you make that purchase or sending that sensitive information, make sure you are on a secure network. If you are in public and using an unsecured network, you have no controls over the security settings and who can monitor or access your files. Either use a virtual private network (VPN) or use your phone as a hotspot.
Keep your security software updated
Constantly having to update your software and security can be a pain, especially if it requires a restart. However, keeping your security software updated will an added layer of protection for your information and can detect and remove most malware.
Secure your accounts
Make sure you use a password or security feature to lock your phone, tablet, computer, etc. Use long and strong passwords with both capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols to create a more secure password. These passwords are more difficult for cybercriminals to hack. Use a unique password rather than using the same one over and over.
Keep your privacy settings on
It might surprise you how much marketers and hackers can learn a lot about you from your browsing and social media usage. Keep privacy setting on for your social media accounts and other online accounts to keep your personal information private.
Be careful what you download
Whether it is a link in an email or pdf, cybercriminals can trick you into downloading malware to try and steal your information. This malware could even be disguised as an app. Don’t download or click on links that may looks suspicious or come from a site you don’t know and trust.
Be careful who you meet online
People are not always who they claim to be, despite what their profile picture might suggest otherwise. In fact, they might not even be real. Hackers can create fake social media profiles to gain your trust and eventually steal your information. Be cautious and sensible in all your online interactions.
Consider parental controls
There are a number of parental control options available to help you keep your kids safe when using a smartphone, tablet, or anything that can connect to the internet. From tools that filter or block certain content to software that prevents kids from sharing personal information via chat or email, you have the ability to help your children stay safe online even when you are not there. It is also important to have internet safety discussions with your children where you can go over these tips and help them make good digital habits to keep them safe.