STEPPING into Safer Internet Day amidst year two of the global pandemic is a poignant reminder that as we rely more and more on digital tools to connect, staying safe online is essential for all.
This Safer Internet Day, we’ve identified some useful tips to encourage people to help those that may be more vulnerable navigate the internet safely.
All of us can play a part to protect our loved ones. With the right tools and awareness, we can easily teach them to make safer and more informed decisions online.
Protect your online accounts
The first step is to create a strong password – try an easy-to-remember sentence and take the first letter of each word using upper and lowercase letters where appropriate.
Here’s an example: I have two cats at home named Tom and Jerry could give you the password – IhtcahnTaJ. Make it a stronger password by replacing letters with numbers where it makes sense. So, building on the previous example, that could give you the following: Ih2c@hnT&J.
Once created, don’t fret over having to remember these passwords – use a password manager like passwords.google.com to create and store those strong passwords! And remember, don’t reuse your passwords.
Exercise care when you share
Be careful with the amount of personal data you share online. It is wise to refrain from posting personal information, such as your full name and email addresses on public forums or online spaces.
Do not share your bank account information, PIN or password with anyone. The only time you should type in this information is when you’re on a trusted website you recognize and have directly accessed in the past.
To be as safe as possible, don’t click on a link to a bank or other websites if it’s sent to you via email or text message. Instead, go directly to the site by typing it into your address bar or do a search for the website.
As for online social spaces, check your sharing settings on social media and notice if you’re sharing publicly, with specific people, or privately.
Identify and avoid scams
Avoiding scams can be a challenge for anyone at any age so always follow three golden rules: Slow it down, Spot check, and Stop! don’t send.
Slow it down. Scammers often create a sense of urgency so that they can bypass your better instincts. Take your time and ask questions to avoid being rushed into a bad situation.
Spot check. Do your research to double check the details you’re getting. If you get an unexpected phone call, hang up. Then look up the bank, agency or organization that’s supposedly calling and get in touch directly.
Stop! Don’t send. No reputable person or agency will ever demand payment on the spot. Often, scammers tell you to go buy gift cards—which are meant only to be given as a gift, not as payment – under threat. So, if you think the payment feels fishy, it probably is.
Keep online conversations positive and respectful
It’s been heartening to see the online world open up more opportunities for seniors to connect and engage with others, whether through social media or other online forums. Sadly, the potential for interactions to take a negative turn is there.
If a conversation takes a bad turn, avoid falling into the vicious cycle of replying to negative comments. Instead, redirect the mood by being positive — and when something is offensive or inappropriate, report it to the platform for review.
If you encounter situations where others are being harassed online, make an effort to reach out to the person to offer support.
If you feel like you are being harassed online, look for the following features on the social media platform or sharing website that you use. Some options available are to mute the conversation or comments, block the user that is causing you grief or report the incident to the social media platform or moderator.
We hope the tips we’ve shared can help make your interactions and exchanges online a more pleasant and safe one for you. – Feb 10, 2021
Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc, is a is a multinational, publicly-traded organization built around the company’s hugely popular search engine. Through products and platforms, Google plays a meaningful role in the daily lives of billions of people and has become one of the most widely-known companies in the world.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.