5 Tips for a Safer Internet

The internet is the modern day Wild Wild West. It is constantly changing and progressing. New apps, programs and capabilities are developed daily, and we are learning at a slower pace how to protect ourselves in this rapidly evolving environment.

At its core, the internet was designed for good. It was created to help people connect. However, it is also being used for unthinkable evil. Predators are taking advantage of the anonymity the internet provides them. They are using it for sex trafficking, sextortion, child sexual abuse material and other crimes against children.

  • 75% of underage victims report being sold online.
  • 150,000 new escort ads are posted online in America every single day.

 

Today, February 7th, is dedicated as National Internet Safety Awareness Day.

 

Here are 5 basic things you can do to remain safer while using the internet today:

 

  1. Secure your connection

When you use a public Wi-Fi connection at a coffee shop, library, or other establishment you lose direct control over your security. Sometimes this connection is your only option. In those scenarios it is best to avoid doing anything that involves your personal financial information such as banking or shopping.

In some cases, you may have to perform transactions on a public Wi-Fi connection, in this case using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a good option to secure your connection.

  1. Update your systems

That little reminder on your computer or phone that an update is available can be annoying, however, it is important in maintaining your safety on the internet. Security is often one of the things included in these updates. When you ignore the need for an update you are also ignoring whatever security improvements the company is making to better protect your information.

  1. Use strong passwords

Everything needs a password these days and it is challenging to create a strong enough one you can remember. Once you have settled on one reusing it seems like a great idea. Except that this move makes you more vulnerable. If someone discovers the password to your email account and it is also the same password you are using for your bank account, this becomes problematic.

Using a Password Manager to store individual strong passwords for each site that requires one is a great step in protecting yourself on the internet.

  1. Secure your devices

Use a passcode, face id, fingerprint scan or other password function on all devices that you use (phones, computers, tablets etc…). This protects the personal information that is stored on the device when it is out of your presence or in the unfortunate event that it is stolen.

  1. Use caution when clicking

Do not click on just anything and do not download anything that you are unsure of the sender. Use caution before you do these actions. Predators use links and downloads as access points to your devices and a careless click may allow them access to your device. When in doubt do not click.

 

These are basic start points to help you remain safer on the internet. For tips on how to protect your child from predators who may be attempting to lure or groom them for something like sex trafficking check out these 7 tips.

The work that Guardian Group does focuses on combating sex trafficking as it exists on the internet. Volunteering with us through Project 1591® will have a lifesaving impact on victims’ lives. Learn more today and help make the internet and America a safer place.