A mysterious new frontier
The Internet is an amazing innovation, full of ways to make our lives easier and bring us together like never before. However, as more of our daily activities move to the Internet, so too do some of our less savoury ones. Some troublemakers simply want to inconvenience people, while others are looking to swindle people out of their money and personal information by pretending to be someone they're not. Likewise, social media websites can be great tools for connecting with people who know you or share your interests, but they can also get you in hot water if you forget how public your actions are on them.
Fortunately, the best defence against these pitfalls is simply to learn that they exist, how they work, and -- most importantly -- how to avoid them. That's why we at Techboomers are proud to support groups like FOSI. that teach people how technology works and how to use it, with a focus on the skills required to keep people safe online. With a combination of education, vigilance, and common sense, we can all work together to make the Internet a safer place for everyone.
Four tips for staying safe online
Here are some of the most common steps we at Techboomers tell people to take in order to protect themselves on the Internet are:
- Create strong passwords. Passwords for the various accounts that you'll create for websites on the Internet should have a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols, and no less than 8 of them. If you can help it, don't use the same password for too many of your accounts, or at least change your password occasionally.
- Install strong anti-virus programs. Viruses and other hazardous programs on the Internet are almost impossible to avoid, so the best thing to do is simply have programs on your computer that can block them. Popular brands include A.V.G., McAfee, Norton, Kaspersky, and Sophos.
- Spot suspicious emails or web pages. There are often dead giveaways that an email or Internet link is fishy, including "too-good-to-be-true" propositions, spelling or grammar mistakes, overly-vague descriptions of where a link takes you, or irregularities in the web address. In addition, many websites stipulate that they will never ask you for personal information over email, so you can safely avoid emails that do so.
- Control your information. This is an important skill for social media websites, and some other websites as well. Only enter personal information into websites that you trust if you are required to do so or are okay with other people knowing it. In many cases, you can also adjust privacy settings to make sure that your information is seen only by those whom you wish to be able to see it.
- Know the best practices to protect yourself on specific websites. A big focus of the educational material at Techboomers is to inform users of the most important safety tips for individual websites. Check out some our tutorials on popular social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
It is our mission to build and maintain the largest online library of quality, up-to-date tutorials for websites and Internet-based applications. And most importantly, all of the educational content will always be free for everyone.
Another of our main goals is to support the awesome organizations out there that teach technology and online safety, like FOSI. So in addition to people who want to learn on their own at Techboomers.com, we encourage libraries and other organizations that offer technology training to use our free video and article tutorials however they like to enhance their programs and websites.
If you like what we’re doing at Techboomers, want to partner with us, or have some feedback, we’d love to hear from you! Find us on Facebook or Twitter, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cover image courtesy of Flickr