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Internet Safety Guide: 8 Tips for Parents and Children

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As the school holidays approach, many children will continue to engage in online activities. While navigating the online realm, it’s crucial for them to be mindful of their digital footprint.

This refers to the trace they create of their online actions, encompassing the websites they visit and the content they share on platforms like Instagram or TikTok.

It’s important to note that online activities often persist indefinitely, making it challenging, if not impossible, to erase information from the internet later on.

This reality raises privacy concerns and increases the likelihood of individuals being exposed to unwarranted or inappropriate content.

Here are 8 Key Internet Safety Tips to be cautious of:

1. Use a Secure Connection: Examine the URL bar in your favorite browser. If there’s a small lock symbol to the left of the URL, that’s good news—it means you have a secure connection to the site you’re visiting, helping to keep your information safe.

2. Choose Strong Passwords: Create passwords that are easy to recall but difficult for others to guess. Avoid including sensitive or personally identifiable information (PII) in your passwords, such as your birthday, phone number, or address. Use seemingly random combinations of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers. Remember to use different passwords for every account you own.

3. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): MFA provides an extra layer of protection against stolen passwords and is easy to implement. It confirms your identity by adding another step to the sign-on process, completed through physical or mobile app-based tokens. Even if your password is compromised, MFA ensures that bad actors can’t access the sensitive information they were after.

4. Keep Software, Tools, and Systems Updated: Ensure your devices and applications are updated with the latest software and security patches.

5. Review and Understand Privacy Settings: Though reading the fine print may seem boring, it’s vital to staying safe online. Review privacy settings for the apps you use to better understand how the app creator will use your data and what control you have over those choices.

6. Know How to Identify Suspicious Links: If a link to free music or games looks strange, don’t open it. Suspicious links can be dangerous, potentially containing malware or other malicious content. As the saying goes, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

7. Be Careful of What and Where You Post: Once information is shared online, it can be challenging to remove, and anyone can see it. Never share your personal information, and think carefully before sharing photos, videos, or other content, considering that it will likely “live” online forever.

8. Be Cautious of Who You Meet and Talk With Online: While you may think you know who you’re talking to on the internet, it’s easy for others to pretend to be someone else. Be careful about what you share with online contacts, and never agree to meet up with an online contact in person, regardless of how well you think you know them. Inform a trusted adult if an online contact says or does something that makes you uncomfortable

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