We spend so much time online that we often forget the Internet can be as dangerous a place in many ways as the darkest alley in the roughest part of town. You might not be physically harmed but you can be emotionally scarred and worse, lose your identity as well as the contents of your bank account. You can even lose your reputation or at best, have it sullied by untrue and outrageous allegations that have not a thread of truth but the policy of the host that provides the blog platform simply refuses to do anything without a court order. So what is internet safety? Do you know how to be safe on the internet and how to stay safe on the internet? Do you know where to find internet safety websites that are informative and trustworthy?
There are many web sites that offer safety advice but some are of dubious value and telling one from the other is often beyond the remit of the average web user. Some people will put too much security up around their computer and internet connection and find it is too restrictive for them, let alone anyone trying to break in. You wouldn’t surround your house with the same thirty foot high walls topped with razor wire they use at a prison, let alone spend the money on guard dogs, searchlights, motion sensors and whatever else. The thing is it can be a double edged sword and do little more than alert the baddies to the fact you have something you wish to protect.
That can be like a red rag to a bull and merely invite attention you would otherwise have not had if you had maintained a lower profile but kept the doors and windows shut. Cyber doors and windows, that is. Have a good firewall in place but most of all, have it on and working at all times. It is like having a gun in the house but the thing is unloaded because you are worried the kids will get hold of it. When you need it you will not have time to cock it (if a semi-automatic or single shot revolver) let alone load it as well as get it out of the gun safe. It needs to be in your hand and ready to fire instantly.
So you need to gun-safe the kids or do without. When it comes to the internet, you need to ‘gun-safe’ the kids on the internet, too. They need to know how to surf safely but they will never learn that from you if you don’t know how to do it either. Make no mistake, the internet is a brilliant invention and one that has changed our lives immeasurably but it does have inherent risks. It can bring misery as much as joy and education into your life. Like all threats, the first step is to understand the situation and the potential for harm. Learn how we can identify risk, what we can do to minimize or mitigate that risk and then how to avoid or manage it for the future.
Ignoring it and hoping it will go away is not the answer nor is it our proactive way of living life, at lest on this website. Forearmed is forewarned, then get stuck in and take the fight to the enemy and seize the day! To do that you will need knowledge, so get surfing and hit those links above as a first step.