What is Safer Internet Day?

Safer Internet Day 2017 takes place on Tuesday 7th February and the theme is ‘Be the change: unite for a better internet’. It’s a day dedicated to promoting the safe use of digital technology for children and young people across the UK. Hundreds of organisations take part and unite to run events and activities which raise awareness of online safety issues. It’s an important reminder for us to keep both ourselves and our children safe on the internet.

How can we as adults keep safe?

There are risks online for adults as well as children, and an awareness of some of the potential hazards online can help protect you from falling for scams or opening malicious email attachments.

Reading news articles and blogs can keep you up to date with the latest scams, which you can then share with your friends to raise awareness. You should always think before you click, even if you’ve been sent an email from someone you trust, as their account may have been hacked. Installing a firewall can be a very effective way to protect your computer against cyber attacks.

Beware of fake websites that have been set up to look like legitimate companies – watch out for spelling mistakes or suspicious URLs that give away the true nature of the site. If you’re shopping online, make sure you can see the ‘https’ and padlock icon next to the URL. Using a credit card rather than a debit card can give you added protection, as a credit card company is more like to reimburse you if you fall victim to fraudulent charges.

How can we keep children safe?

It can be a big challenge to keep up with what our children are doing online, as technology is always changing and trends come and go. You may feel that your child has better technological skills than you – but it is still important that they have support and guidance in order to use the internet safely.

One way in which you can keep your child safe, is by talking to them regularly about what they do online and the sites they visit. Make sure they feel able to come and talk to you if they see something online that worries them, or if they feel they are the victim of cyberbullying.

Parental controls can be a useful way to protect children from inappropriate content, and can be found in the settings of your internet provider, mobile operator, devices such as phones and tablets, and online services such as BBC iPlayer and YouTube. However, as children grow up and become more tech savvy, they may learn to disable parental controls. For this reason, it can be useful to establish rules on which sites are suitable and which are inappropriate to visit.

If you’re looking for more help and advice on keeping safe on the internet, email paul@zcsocialmedia.com. ZC Social Media trains people on how to use social media and how we can keep everyone safe online.

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