Rules For Safe Online Searches

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by Barbara J. Feldman on August 29, 2007

There are many important reasons for you to use caution when searching online. There are many threats that could jeopardize the safety of your personal information, your identity, your family’s important personal and business files and even your health and safety. Setting rules and guidelines for searching safely online will help you to avoid many of the mistakes people make that put them in a bad situation. Here are some examples that should help you stay safe online.

Be very careful what you tell people online.

Many people don’t even know what type of information people who intend to do you harm could be looking for or use to hurt you. This information includes your home address, names of schools you or your children attend, telephone numbers, or even something as simple as the state you live in. Unless you are dealing with someone you and your children know and trust or are dealing with a reputable and established online business with a secure page, never give out this information to people online or through e-mail. You should even be careful of giving out your age, whether you are married or not, and any and all financial information. Don’t even post photos of yourself or your children on public sites that anyone can see and don’t post your e-mail addresses on public sites or lists. Also be sure to find out what your Internet service provider’s privacy policy is. They may sell your information to third parties for marketing purposes. There are ways for people who have even the smallest bit of information about you to find out more that could put your security in danger.

Know what services you and your family use online

Get to know what services you and your family use online and what types of privacy policies they have. If you have children that use the Internet, have them show you what they use online and how to access it. Be familiar with the services that are available to children on the Internet, and let your child know which ones are allowed and which aren’t. Find out if your child uses an e-mail service online and know what their user names and passwords are. You should be aware if there is any type of unacceptable conduct online for your children. Many computers have the option of setting up specific logins for each member of the family. You can monitor their activities on the Internet as an administrator of the computer and set limits of how long they can be logged in and what sites they can or cannot go to.

Set reasonable expectations about what you find online

It’s important that to understand you can’t believe everything you find on the Internet. People are not always who they seem online, and there is no way of telling if someone is telling the truth or not. Someone could say they are a twelve-year old girl when they are really a forty-five year old man. Stick to sites that you trust. If anything “seems” fishy, there is probably a reason for you to be suspicious. This concept is important to keep in mind for people who want information from you or who want to “be your friend”, but it is also important when shopping online or doing research. Although we want to think that most people are good and have good intentions, there are some who are online only to take advantage of others. Scam artists are very good at making themselves look reputable. If something seems too good to be true it probably is. If there is a site that is offering a digital camera for $200 dollars less than everyone else who sells it, there is probably something that should be avoided.

Just remember that the Internet offers a tremendous amount of information in a short amount of time. The best rule to follow when searching online is to be alert and aware of what is going on around you. Trust your instincts and you will be able to search safely online.


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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Rules For Safe Online Searches." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 29 Aug. 2007. Web. 25 Apr. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/1158/rules-for-safe-online-searches/ >.