The Internet makes the world a smaller place where people around the world can talk, learn and exchange information. It is an ideal educational tool for families and offers children limitless opportunities to expand their minds and learn new things every day.
Unfortunately, there is little to no regulation on the internet and computer users can fall prey to online scams, viruses and spamming. Added to this is the very real worry that parents often have about the unsuitable content and material that their children may be exposed to.
Here are some simple rules for safe surfing:
- Don’t be personal - Be careful if you need to give out your name, address, phone number or any other piece of personal info. Sometimes you have no choice, like online shopping, but be sensible. If they ask for other personal information, go elsewhere, as there are plenty of sites to choose from.
- Competitions - Be careful when entering competitions etc, you could be signing up to services you don’t want.
- Downloading programs - Check the terms & conditions.
- Abuse - If you receive anything abusive, report it. You can do this by contacting the Irish Internet Hotline www.hotline.ie
- Links - If you get an e-mail from someone you don’t know, then don’t open their links or attachments, as they could be computer viruses or inappropriate sites.
- Photographs - Don’t send your photograph to anyone, without checking it out first and if you download photographs, make sure they’re from approved free sites. If you take photographs from other sites, you can get into trouble.
- Passwords - Keep them private, don’t even tell your friends, as people can access all your private files with them.
- Respect - Have it for yourself and others.
- Credit-card safety - When ordering or giving your credit card details make sure there’s a credit card safety symbol on the site. It looks like a yellow padlock and simply means that your details will be safe.