General Internet Safety Tips

General Internet Safety Tips

Thanks to the Curbi team makers of a parental control app for iOS that allows parents to track, block, and set limits to their children’s iPhone,iPad, or iPod for sponsoring the series of content on web safety. We approached them with the idea of publishing a playlist of content on web safety tips for the web 2.0 age & they happily supported our campaign. Check out the video playlist here of the content & download Curbi today!

When it comes to the internet it really is a sense of “anything goes” it can be a well of knowledge or pure distraction depending on where you land. That said we all have devices that are somehow connected to the internet these days. Safety now is more important than ever with much of our lives encapsulated digitally in our social media profiles, computer hard drives, and more. There’s a ton of “bad” out there on internet that can range from explicit content, scams, and of course viruses/malware.

Here’s a roundup of some general web safety tips that you can utilize & of course pass on to those you care about.

Blocking Content:

Let’s face it if your a parent your kid may experience or come into contact with explicit content whatever you may consider that. Adult material, profane language, etc. While this exposure can’t be 100% eliminated it can be filtered significantly to reduce or block all together.

Using a browser like Google Chrome you can easily install a plugin like WebFilter Pro to block out specific content from pornography, gambling, and more.

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This can also be done at a browser level by enabling “Safe Search” on Google so that anyone who is searching via Google on your computer or family computer is provided safer results. By simply googling “Google Safe Search” you’ll be provided a simple set of instructions to turn it on/off

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Achieving this on the mobile end can be done with in-app solutions depending on the device operating system. Curbi for iOS provides a great solution, SecureTeen is one of the many solutions available on Android, and so on.

Always DOUBLE check:

This is more of a common sense tip however one that needs to be reiterated. Remember if it looks to good to be true on the internet it probably is!

You most likely haven’t

  • Won $1,000,000 from someone in Africa or a past family member
  • Companies will NEVER ask you for your password or security details
  • Get rich quick schemes for a limited offer of insert amount here
  • Random girl/guy has confessed their love for you via e-mail, app, etc

Scammers and so on are all over nowadays and will prey upon your e-mail, social network accounts, etc.

This also goes in line with anything sign up for nowadays. You’ll be surprised to see what it is we’re actually agreeing to when we scroll all the way to the bottom to check that “I agree” button.

A site like TOSDR (Terms of Service Didn’t Read) aims to make it all simple and provide in laymen terms what we’re agreeing to when signing up and using a site. What the site has access and rights to do with our content/information.

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The Unavoidable:

Anonymity is simply apart of the web nowadays. Users can post without having any profile/name attached or for that matter hide behind usernames. This is one of the unavoidable parts of the internet. Comment boards/sections are filled with people who while have great and contributing things to say also have those who are just for the lack of a better term “internet trolls”. The best way to tackle said situations when on the web and your own social media accounts is to report the user on the platform the abuse is being dealt on.  As a parents its also important to explain and be aware this is apart of the internet as its so vast you can’t quite filter or protect your kids from everything.

Protecting against Malware, Viruses, etc:

A big part of the safety term relates to that of the viruses and so on that can be picked up on the web. There are many ways users get their devices infected nowadays. But most commonly this is a result of a direct download. So while your browser & OS has a layer of built in protection/scanning it can’t protect itself from direct human interaction.

Downloading any of the following exposes you highly to viruses/malware

  • Pirating Software/Serial Keys/Illegal Copies or Movies are all a big target for viruses
  • Clicking on Suspicious Links via social network

Keep in mind protection doesn’t just mean to be weary of what your downloading but all forms of scams. This can range from identity crisis or credit card theft. Be cautious of what your placing your important data into & always try to verify the source.

Using the following resources/tips can help keep you safe on the web-

  1. Scan sites for safety & verification with Norton’s safety tool or Web of Trust plugin
  2. Download a free or paid virus protection service such as AVG, ClamWin, or any that you prefer for your OS to scan any files or act as another level of defense. Run regular scans with said software to ensure your computer hasn’t been compromised.
  3. If you are using P2P services such as uTorrent or Bitorrent be aware of what your downloading and the source. Read a wiki post such as this one on torrent safety (NOTE: We do not promote piracy) however P2P can be used in multiple ways.

Be Mindful:

Being on the internet try to remember that it’s written in pen not pencil. So be cautious of what you choose to reveal as well as what you post on your social media profiles be it Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. This can be achieved by using identities or screen names for young children who may be signing up for a service such as a game or website.

Other tips include:

  • Setting your social media profiles to “Private” to only allow those who you admit to see your information
  • Legal transactions when it comes to buying any music, apps, games, etc are the safest way to ensure you aren’t exposed to any malware/scams.This means networks such as iTunes, Steam, etc.
  • A Simple Google Search of your name can reveal whats available out there on the web about you. Doing this reminds you to keep in mind that the internet is public. This can be useful to do in the case of when applying for a job that may involve background checks.
  • Do your best to simply ignore unwanted contact or altercations with people online. Remember it’s easy for people to talk from behind their computer screens so do your best to either ignore or block people who are explicit/rude all together.

When a good thing becomes too much:

You can of course choose to limit the internet usage all together which in some cases is smart not just for productivity sake but your health. If you or someone you know is using the internet obsessively over things like games or what have you to a point where it interferes with everyday life. Then considering a program that limits usage to the network of tubes that is the internet. This can be achieved in a multitude of ways across many platforms.

Here’s a list of methods you can use to block/manage internet usage-

For Windows users

For OS X users

Curbi for iOS

Overall the internet is a vast place. I can’t truly cover everything you’ll encounter along your browsing experience. However using the tips outlined above it’ll provide a safer and better experience for you and your family. Protecting you against general scams/viruses and as always you are the gatekeeper when it comes to all of this. Your knowledge & choices are the first line of defense when it comes to anything on the net. As parents its worth taking time to explain the vastness of the internet and things your kids may run into along the way. Explaining the importance of privacy, security, and what they post out there on the net as they grow older and are introduced to thing such as social media. Nowadays the internet is accessible across almost all of our device be it phones, computer or tablet. So understanding the different platforms and practices we can use on each to be safe is investing in a more secure & stable future.

Again my personal thanks goes out to Curbi for sponsoring the series of content we’ve created on internet safety & the importance of it. Be sure to check out the posts down below & of course feel free to submit your own tips/resources in the comments down below!

Curbi Overview- Parental Control for iOS

Parental Control Tips for iOS (iPhone, iPod, iPad)