In recent years, internet safety has become an increasingly important topic as more and more people spend time online and with the rise of:
- social media platforms,
- online shopping,
- remote work
The internet has become an increasingly massive part of our daily lives. However, with the benefits of the internet also come risks, such as cyberbullying, identity theft, and online scams.
Speaking of these risks, lets talk more about them and what they are.
Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that takes place online, through:
- social media platforms,
- messaging apps,
- other digital channels.
It involves using technology to harass, intimidate, or humiliate another person, often repeatedly and over an extended period of time. Examples of this include:
- sending threatening messages,
- spreading rumours or lies about someone,
- sharing embarrassing photos or videos without their consent,
- creating fake profiles to harass or impersonate someone.
Cyberbullying can happen in any online community, whether its social media, apps, or gaming and the effects of it can be severe, in some cases leading to anxiety, depression or worse or it can destroy someone’s social life, reputation or academic performance.
Speaking of cyberbullying, according to ‘Compare Camp’ 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyberbullying, over 25% of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their phones or the Internet and 53% of young adults who play games online have experienced cyberbullying in their lifetime. So, you are not alone if this has happened to you!
Identity theft is a type of fraud where someone steals another person’s personal information, such as their name, date of birth, or credit card details, and uses it to commit fraudulent activities. Identity theft can occur through a variety of methods, including phishing scams, where fraudulent emails or websites are used to trick victims into providing their personal information, hacking, where cybercriminals gain unauthorized access to a company or organization’s database containing personal information, and physical theft, where someone steals a person’s wallet or post to obtain their personal information, the consequences of identity theft can also be severe, including financial losses, damage to credit scores, and reputational damage.
Next is online scams, and there are many different types to be aware of. Such as:
- Lottery or Sweepstake,
- Tech support,
These can be seen as messages or emails from unknown contacts, asking for bank details, fake accounts asking for money as they are in a ‘difficult financial situation’ or websites that offer a ‘get rich quick’ scheme.
Now, although these things are scary and not nice to happen to people, there are ways to be safer when using the internet.
- These are things such as reporting the behaviour to the proper authorities or online platforms,
- Blocking the person engaging in the behaviour,
- Seeking support from friends, family, or mental health professionals
- Just being more aware of who the message is from and what it says, so if you receive a message from an unknown or unsolicited account – ignore it or double check that it’s not a scam.
It’s important to take precautions such as regularly monitoring bank and credit card statements and shredding personal documents before disposing of them and it is also a great idea to use strong passwords and 2 – factor authentication for your accounts. As well as being educated on the topic of internet safety.
To create a good, strong password – you want it to be something you can remember but impossible for others to guess such as a random word you chose with no meaning behind choosing it, with a mix of capital letters and lowercase and the best length to have a password is about 12 characters long with at least 1 number and symbol in it.