Internet Safety Tips For Students

Stay safe online by avoiding predators, scammers and hackers

Internet Safety Tips For Students

Using the Internet is an absolute necessity for school work and research, but there are some safety concerns and safeguards that students need to be aware of to remain protected. Avoiding online predators, scammers and even hackers are among the top priorities for remaining safe while online. The following are some tips to help avoid negative experiences while using the Internet for school:

Keeping Predators at Bay
1. Students should remember that predators love to use the Internet to hide behind alternate personas. Therefore, it is key to keep from revealing any personal information about yourself to someone you come across online. There is no way to really know who the person is on the other end of the conversation, so remember that you’re conversing with a stranger and shouldn’t give them any details about your location or personal life.
2. Similarly, ensure that you don’t give anyone your real name when meeting them online. Keep usernames neutral and un-identifying, except for social media accounts. Then make sure you only have people you know personally connected on those accounts.
3. All social media accounts should be set to private so that no one may contact you without being in your network. This will help thwart efforts of predators to find new targets matching your description. Also keep as much of your personal information such as location, contact information, relationship status and family members off of your accounts.
4. Ensure all of your Social Media, chat and other networking contacts are people you actually know in real life. This will help reduce the possibility of someone with a criminal record posing as someone else and exchanging information with you.
5. Change your usernames to something that is not the least bit suggestive or flirty. These types of names can invite predators to target you.

Protecting Yourself from Hackers
1. The first step in avoiding being hacked is to ensure your computer and network have sufficient monitoring and blocking software installed in order to avoid incoming threats. Make sure your firewall is turned on.
2. Make sure you’re changing all of your passwords to online accounts, including social media, at least four times a year – or every quarter.
3. Never stay logged into financial or social media accounts on your phone or other smart device. If you lose it, the finder can easily access all of them.
4. Always keep your logins private and don’t share them with others. This includes even your best friends.

Avoiding Scams
1. Don’t ever give your personal information such as address, birthday, Social Security Number, phone number or email to someone online, even if they seem to be from a legitimate company. Contact the company directly if it is someone you regularly do business with to ensure it is really them trying to contact or send you something. Most legitimate companies will never ask for your personal information over the phone or online.
2. Never respond to harassing or rude messages or emails. Even messages telling you that you’ve won something should be ignored. This is often how scammers get your information to sell it to others.
3. Never, ever send money to someone online or give your credit card numbers to someone via messaging or email. Only buy online from reputable companies.
4. Never save passwords or pay for items online using public computers in a school library. These computers are frequently hacked and can put your personal information as well as your own safety at risk.

Staying Safe
1. Avoid posting or circulating private information about someone else online or cyber-bullying them. Harassment via the Internet is also illegal and can make you look bad on your future background checks.
2. If you happen to find lewd or inappropriate content online about yourself, contact the police or ask your parents to do so immediately.
3. Avoid giving your email address to companies online unless you regularly do business with them and they are very reputable. Many of these address lists are sold to third parties and make you subject to sales pitches and scams, and can even put you on robocall lists if your phone number is also given.
4. Pay special attention to monthly bank and credit card statements, and immediately report any suspicious activity to your bank.
5. If you study abroad or travel regularly for school, talk to your parents about finding an appropriate credit card or other method of payment that doesn’t make you a target and protects from fraud in other countries.

Emily Andrews is the marketing communications specialist at RecordsFinder, an online public records search company.


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