Most of us use the Internet on an almost-daily basis and have no difficulty. We log in, take care of our business, often make purchases or other financial transactions, and think nothing more of it.
Until something happens. Then we wonder why someone doesn't do something to make the Internet a safer place for us.
This year, February 6, someone is doing something about it. Called Safer Internet Day, the campaign originated in 2012 and calls upon young people, parents, caregivers, teachers, social workers, law enforcement, businesses, lawmakers, and beyond, to make the Internet a safer place for everyone.
Not only is the purpose of Safer Internet Day (SID) to create a safer Internet, but also an Internet that empowers everyone to use technology wisely, respectfully, and creatively.
Although Safer Internet Day first started in Europe over a decade ago and is observed by over 100 countries, it's only recently gotten official recognition in the USA in 2012. A partnership between the US Department of Homeland Security and the European Commission has been raising Internet safety awareness and creativity annually.1
One way for you to observe SID is by making sure your software is the most current version, that your antivirus and malware fighters are installed, parental locks are in place if you have younger children using the computer, and you have secure passwords. Changing passwords frequently wouldn't be a bad idea, and never use the same one for different sites. You're just making it easier for identity or cyber-thieves to steal your valuable information and ruin your hard-earned credit rating.
There are a few other things you can do to make your own online experience safer: downloading films, music, or pop-up content puts you at risk of downloading malicious software (malware), compromising your privacy, finances, and even allowing a hacker to activate your webcam without your knowledge.2
When paying bills or making purchases online, use a credit card instead of your debit card. Although it may seem counter-intuitive to be putting debt on a card – a debt that comes with interest, unless you can pay it in full when the bill comes due – it's much safer that using a card associated with your bank account information. If there's a problem, the credit card company is there to handle it. If your bank account information is hacked, you could lose money and not be aware of it for several days. It's also a good idea to keep a separate emergency savings fund for just such an event.
If you have young children in your home, stress to them the importance of not sharing personal information with their online contacts.
If you're on social media, you can include the hashtag #SaferInternetDay to help spread the word to friends and family.3
FinFit proudly supports Safer Internet Day 2018.1. About Safer Internet Day USA, saferinternetday.us
- 2. Internet Safety – Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_safety
- 3. About Safer Internet Day USA, saferinternetday.us