Seventy-seven percent of American adult Internet users surf the Web on an average day. Most are checking email, using a search engine such as Google to find information, and updating social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
If you and your family members are surfing, searching and sharing online, are you sure that the information you post isn’t disclosing more than you intend? Everything shared online is available to the public. Criminals may use personal information such as your birth date and street address to guess your passwords or attempt to trick you into sending them money. Protecting your personal information-and reputation-online is critical, and easy.
“Just use common sense and ‘think before you click,'” says Deborah Taylor Tate, international special envoy for Child Online Protection and a former commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission. “So many of the rules we learn about interacting with others in the real world apply in the virtual world.”
Tate’s top tips for online safety:
- Don’t talk to strangers. Limit your “friends” to people you know in real life.
- Think before you click. Don’t share private information such as your street address and year and place of birth.
- “Lock your door.” Use and update your account privacy settings and passwords often. Set strong passwords for each of your banking, email and social network accounts. Passwords should contain at least eight characters (a combination of letters, numbers and symbols), and not “the usual suspects” such as your birth date or a grandchild’s name. Most importantly, never share your passwords with anyone for any reason.