Guidelines For Safe Online Searches

by Barbara J. Feldman on August 29, 2007

Searching the Internet for information can be a very enjoyable and productive venture. It is a great source that allows people to connect with others all over the world in an instant. However, there are certain dangers that can be encountered online. Here are some rules that will help you to do safe searches online.

Never give out personal information

One of the most important things to keep in mind while you are searching on the Internet is to safeguard your personal information. If a site requires that you input information about yourself that could give someone you don’t know or trust a way to endanger your security online, don’t use it. The Internet seems to be the ideal place for scammers and identity thieves to prey on the uninformed and gullible. Don’t be one of the people that get taken advantage of, and be sure that you are doing safe searches on the Internet. Be cautious when anyone asks for your full name, mailing or street address, social security number, credit card numbers or other financial information, personal photos, children’s names or schools they attend, and any other personal information. People who want to get this information will try and convince you that they need to know to proceed with any type of search or transaction. Be on your watch. If something doesn’t seem right, you may need to look further into it.

Look in reputable places

Another tip to keep in mind while searching online is to look in reputable places and from people you know and trust. Popular search engines like Google, Yahoo, Ask.com, etc. will pull many results to keyword searches. Just because something is one of the top results on the list doesn’t mean that it is the most reliable. Be cautious of people who are only selling information or who won’t tell you what you are getting before you place an order. Also be aware of sites who claim to be educational but only sell products and don’t provide any information on the site. It may be better to look on sites that end in .edu, .gov, or .org to make sure you are getting good information, but these sites are not always relevant to what you are looking for. Be cautious when you search for one word and a site with no relevance comes up in the search.

Get more than one opinion

Another way to search that will help you to get more accurate and reliable information is to look in more than one place. Don’t take one and only one site as the authority on a subject. Each topic has its own little world out there, and there are usually many sites that will be able to provide information about a particular subject. This is particularly useful when you are doing research or are planning on purchasing something online. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is, and you should search for the same product on one or more other sites. If one online vendor offers a product for considerably less than anyone else online, they are probably not offering the same product or services as the other ones. Don’t trust a price that is too low.

Don’t believe everything you see or hear

Keep in mind that the Internet is a place where anyone can post almost anything they want on their own websites. These people have opinions and may or may not actually be informed about the topic. This is another reason it is important to look on sites that are reputable and list sources and references or links to other sites that do. There are also people who post things online with the intent to mislead people.

The best piece of advice for executing safe searches online is to keep your eyes peeled and to be alert and aware of what you are getting into.

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Guidelines For Safe Online Searches." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 29 Aug. 2007. Web. 18 Jul. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/1159/guidelines-for-safe-online-searches/ >.