10 Tips for Staying Safe Online
The Department of Commerce warns consumers with intellectual and developmental disabilities to be on guard against online scams. Unfortunately, scammers target people they think will be the easiest to take advantage of. This includes both people with disabilities and older adults.
Now, with an increase in social media use — according to the Statista Digital Economy Compass, the global average time spent using social media platforms per day in 2021 was 142 minutes — it is more important than ever to teach your child how to stay safe online. And who knows? Maybe you will learn something too!
1. Don’t Give Out Personal Information
Avoid online phishing attempts by keeping your personal information private. Don’t give out your phone number, address, social security number, or banking information to someone you don’t know.
2. Confirm with a Friend
Have you ever received a suspicious message from a close friend? Keep in mind, if you think it is too good to be true, it probably is! Before you go clicking a link to win free money, call your friend and ask them if they messaged you.
3. Create Complex Passwords
Create passwords with a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Consider using password managers to create and keep track of your passwords. Some apps will save your passwords for you, like LastPass, KeePass, and 1Password.
4. Check Website & Seller Reliability
Before purchasing anything online, ensure that the website is safe and that you are buying from a trusted seller. A secure URL should begin with “https” rather than “http.” The “s” in “https” stands for secure, which indicates that the site is using a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate.
5. Avoid Suspicious Links
Be careful of websites, emails, or text messages containing suspicious links. Some websites may use quizzes, freebies, or even sob stories to get you to click on them and then steal your personal information.
6. Don’t Believe Everything You Read
Not everything you read or see on the internet is true! Check the information against other sources for reliability. Most importantly, avoid spreading false or harmful information online.
7. Keep Your Computer Updated & Secure
Computer developers release updates to keep products safe. Keep your device up to date, so it is not vulnerable to malware. If you are using an anti-malware subscription software like Norton AntiVirus, make sure you renew your subscription before it expires!
8. Monitor App Permissions
Learn the privacy settings for any device, app, or service you use. Some apps will ask for permission to access your location. Stay informed, so you aren’t sharing anything you don’t want to.
9. Be Cautious with Public WiFi
Be careful when you use public WiFi. Anyone can use unsecured networks to distribute malware and access private information. If you use a VPN (Virtual Private Network), make sure you are connected before going online.
10. Tell someone!
If you read or see something online that makes you feel scared or uncomfortable, tell someone you trust!
Check out this fun animated video for more tips: Oversharing: Think Before You Post.