Play it Safe Online

In light of Monday’s post about video games, I thought I’d do a refresher on internet safety tips. Video games aren’t just contained to a single unit anymore not with the advent of things like XBox Live and MMORPGs (Massively Multiplay Online Role Playing Games), such as World of Warcraft.  As friendly as you may be with the people in your alliance or clan or whatever online social group you may be a part of you still need to protect yourself and your family.  Here are a few ways to do that.

  • Ask questions of your children before they start surfing. Know things such as what sites they are visiting, what they do while there and how much time they spend on the site.
  • Take advantage of the parental controls offered by your ISP, web browsers, and/or the websites your child visits.
  • Never share account login and password information.
  • Use generic screen names. Don’t include items such as birthday, hobbies, or hometowns as part of your screen name.
  • If you’re using social networking sites such as Facebook, change your privacy settings so as not to reveal private information such as personal contact information, your birthday and hometown.
  • Children should avoid opening emails from unknown senders. Adults should be cautious as well. Don’t open attachments unless you are expecting them.  The same is true of following weblinks included in an email.
  • When following a weblink to what you many think is a trusted website always check the URL in the address bar. Some identity thieves will create websites that look like reputable sites in order to gain your trust and thus harvest your personal info.
  • If you receive a threatening communication do not respond, however do keep a copy of the email or chat log. You want to make sure you have any incidents or altercations documented should something ever come of it.
  • Nothing on the web is ever truly private so always be careful what you write.
  • For kids – never make plans to meet an online friend in person. For adults – always have a communication plan in place if you are going to be meeting an online acquaintance. Make sure someone knows who, what, where, and when you’re meeting this individual. You may also want to set up check in times with a friend or family member.

The web can be an educational and entertaining place to visit. Play it safe and smart and you can have great time online.

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