Suggestions for Staying Safe on the Internet
Over the past few weeks, I have offered information with regards to social media and internet usage. I have cited specific websites that offer sound tips on how to be safe while on the internet. Today I would like to offer a few of my own thoughts on this matter that might be helpful to some folks.
Why is this subject matter important for the church community? As noted in last week’s sermon on Just Say No, often times it takes layers of support to keep each other safe from scams, temptations, and other forms of misrepresentation.
Here are my suggestions:
- Question all “news” articles, particularly those sites that have the word “sponsored” attached to them. Sponsored articles are often disguised forms of advertisement design to get its readers to buy something (an item, an idea, etc.)
- Question all news sources. As with television programs, much of today’s internet news is based on editorial sources and opinions, not facts. Know the difference between responsible reporting and entertainment. Note that commentary is entertainment designed to stir up an emotional response, much like gossip.
- Don’t open any suspect emails, even if they appear legitimate. Do not offer any personal information, fill out any reports, call any unfamiliar numbers, or respond to any emails that want money. If unsure of a source, call a trusted friend or institution that can help.
- Avoid “pop-ups.” Pop-ups are advertisements that seek to lure potential customers to their site. Click out of these sites right away.
- Post “selfies” and pictures with caution. If there is one piece of advice that I can offer young people today, it would be to avoid posting questionable pictures on the internet. Some young people fall into the trap of believing that all their personal pictures are safe if utilizing proper security measures and settings. This is simply not true. Any posting on the internet can be compromised. When posting pictures, consider the risks.
I recognize that these suggestions are common-sense matters and even simplistic, but we should not take anything for granted when it comes to taking care of each other. Remember that it takes layers of support to help each other from going in the wrong direction.
Here are links to my previous social media posts.