Real World Tips for Online Safety
For some, it can be jarring coming to the realization that the online world and the offline world require their own unique standards of safety.
After all, while most Generation Z kids grew up with the internet, those born in the early ’90s or earlier didn’t have that same experience. In those days, when your parents told you how to stay safe in the real world, they weren’t thinking about the internet.
How do you take those concepts and translate them to the digital world? Here are four things your parents probably taught you when you were a child, and some tips on how to equate them to online situations.
1. Don’t Go Out after Dark
Obviously, you may have no choice but to go out after dark. But in general, once the sun sets, it’s a good idea to stay in if possible. How does this concept translate to the internet world?
The dark web obviously springs to mind. Although there are many legitimate uses of the dark web, a large number of shady and illegal activities take place within this underground network of internet sites.
Essentially, the core of this advice still rings true. If you’re going to be poking around in the dark, have a good reason for it, and be careful with whom you interact.
2. If Something Seems too Good to Be True, It Probably Is
Your parents may have told you this when you were begging for a chance at those rigged carnival games, or when you really wanted those suspiciously inexpensive “brand-name” sneakers. What they may not have known is that they were setting you up for success online.
Scams are incredibly prevalent on the internet. And most of them just take advantage of your natural inclination to want something at a great price. Whether it’s winning a sweepstakes you don’t remember entering, buying designer clothing at an incredibly discounted price, or just receiving a gift from someone you don’t know, scams prey on your emotions to get you to fall for it.
Just remember that lesson and you’ll be much less likely to lose your money.
3. Make Sure Someone Knows Where You’re Going and When You’ll Be Back
In person, communicating about your whereabouts will make it more likely that someone will notice if you become lost or hurt. However, what does that mean online?
Online, it’s incredibly easy for people to pretend to be someone else. That means someone could hijack your identity, pretend to be you, and even dupe your friends and family into handing over sensitive information. If you’re contacted by someone who claims to be a friend or family member who needs money or information, make sure you check using another method (such as by text or video chat) to make sure things are legit.
4. Don’t Talk to Strangers
This one might seem a little silly. After all, with over four billion people using the internet worldwide, pretty much everyone you encounter online will be a stranger!
However, this actually rings true when it comes to the intersection between your personal life and your public online life. Sure, it’s fine to follow someone on Instagram who you don’t really know. But when you start messaging each other, and the person asks if you want to meet up, you’re suddenly stepping into some dangerous territory. If you want to bring some portions of your online identity offline, it’s a good idea to use a public records search engine like PeopleFinders, so you know what you’re getting into first.
PeopleFinders makes it substantially more difficult for online individuals to lie to you about their identity. If you decide you do want to meet up with someone in person for the first time, perform a background check on him or her to try and get more information that will keep you out of danger. If you come up with recent arrest records, it may be a good idea to cut off contact instead of bringing this person into your physical world. For more ideas, try the PeopleFinders blog.
You may think of the online world and the offline world as being extremely different. But in reality, the two can be very similar. You can definitely use the same safety tips you were told as a child to navigate the online world successfully without becoming trapped in scams or becoming the victim of a crime. All you have to do is remember the safety tips your parents taught you, and then use PeopleFinders to help put them into action.
rodjulian – stock.adobe.com
Categorized in: Digital Identity