February 5, 2019 is Safer Internet Day. According to the organizers of Safer Internet Day 2019, the 2019 slogan "Together for a better internet" is a call to action for all stakeholders to join together and play their part in creating a better internet for everyone, and especially for younger users. The organization Insafe has also published a "Better Internet for Kids" portal to raise awareness. From cyberbullying to social networking, each year Safer Internet Day aims to raise awareness of emerging online issues and chooses a topic reflecting current concerns. By celebrating the positive power of the internet, the Safer Internet Day slogan of “Together for a better internet” encourages everyone to join the movement, to participate, and to make the most of the internet’s potential to bring people together.
As part of this important awareness day, we can all do our share by passing on tips on internet safety to the younger generation. While there are hundreds of tips that can and should ideally be followed, here are a few suggestions that we would like to highlight, to keep the new generation safe on the internet.
Our Top 10 tips to keep our kids safer on the internet:
- Be aware of cyberbullying tactics. Never respond to anyone sending you threatening or offensive messages. Report it to an adult immediately, and block the offender.
- Lock your phone, tablet and computer with a password.
- Set strong passwords – use a combination of uppercase and lower case letters, numbers and special characters.
- Try to set up two-factor authentication on your accounts wherever possible.
- Do not click on links or open attachments in emails or texts from anyone unknown. Be wary of phishing attempts which are growing more and more sophisticated by the day.
- Keep your social media accounts and photos private – limit access to your friends and family members only – do not accept invitations to connect from strangers. Check your security and privacy settings on social media accounts frequently as social media sites are well known for changing security and privacy features periodically.
- Don’t share personal information about yourself, like your address, phone number, email address, date of birth, on social media or chat rooms. Never give out this information to someone you may have only met online.
- Always use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) while connecting to any public Wi-fi or hotspot. It's very easy to get a VPN either for free or for a nominal charge.
- Do not share your passwords with others.
- Backup your data regularly, so that if it is lost or stolen, you may be able to retrieve it easily.
Encourage the younger generation to follow these and other tips on internet safety. But these are tips that should be followed by all generations! Make every day a safer internet day by practicing Cyber Hygiene everyday.
Note: this blog post was originally published for Safer Internet Day 2018, it has been edited and re-published for Safer Internet Day 2019.