How Safe Is The Internet?

June 5, 2019

As safe as you make it. Should you be concerned about internet safety?

For one reason or another, the ideology behind many is that the internet is a dangerous place. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it has it’s hang ups… but there are many simple yet effective practices that can be implemented to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey to the land of the World Wide Web.

Try this concept – think about the internet as the neighbourhood that people speak ill about and advise you to avoid, however when you converse with someone of that area they’ll confirm that those whispers are a myth. The internet is very much the same. All the regular uses will tell you that it’s perfectly fine whereas those who aren’t so familiar will try and sway you away from it.

Generational Differences: Is Internet Safety A Concern?

After growing up fortunate enough to have continuous access to the internet, this meant that I grew up utilising and absorbing every inch of newly fascinating technology I could get my hands on. It became a valuable part of my life from a young age. I’ve realised that for the generation prior to me, this was a completely different and unfamiliar concept and therefore it’s not exactly been welcomed with opened arms and internet safety was very much a concern. Accepting such an advancement would not come naturally for most.

It wasn’t until my mid-teens that I witnessed the mind-boggling view that the previous generation has. One day, my Uncle wanted to create a playlist on YouTube for his favourite songs, and me being the appointment techie of the family, I was summoned for support. It wasn’t long before we ran into the issue. At the stage of creating the playlist, you have the option to make it public or private. When my uncle got wind of the ‘public’ option he pulled the plug on the whole idea. I was confused because I have never had an issue with this but he was adamant that if his music playlist was public then his whole private life, business and livelihood was at stake.

Personally, I find this approach to the internet MI5, but as I mentioned earlier, you have to remember that the concept is so alien to them and the only things regarding the internet that they’ll choose to remember are the bad ones.

That being said, I, to this day, have a piece of tape over my webcam… just in case.

Glancing over at the other end of the spectrum, there is the generation after me. The born and bred tech toddlers with newer iPhones than I had.

On the one hand, oh the brilliance! I can’t help but imagine how these creative minds in the tech world will develop, because to the previous generation, technology was the dream. Could you imagine what will come with this bunch? I find the thought of this particularly riveting because when I’m in a retirement home I will be able to reap the hell out of these benefits.

But then the other side of me wants me to tell these kids to go outside and get lost in the woods and just have fun getting dirty, messing around and having adventures. It seems that the outdoors has become a foreign concept for some of the kids of today and the outside world almost seems more dangerous than the online!

So what can be done to help those that are constantly using the internet?

Dodgy Looking Websites: A Threat To Your Internet Safety?

Generally, I won’t pay much attention to a website if the design is poor. With the number of resources available to the mainstream to create decent looking websites, even if they are templates, there’s no excuse to be running something that looks like it was created in Microsoft paint.

If a website looks suspect and is also an e-commerce, then it is highly unlikely that I will be giving them details. Now this may seem unfair but it is quite common for someone with ill intention to mock up a dodgy website in no time and then throw it around attempting to steal bank details from unsuspecting users. It’s at times like this when you either get spammed by irrelevant emails or ones that want to try and steal your money through a scam. Handing over your details to one of these sites means that you will lose the money straight out of your account and will have little chance of receiving it back because you’re essentially authorising the payment.

Now, please believe that my intentions aren’t to scare you from shopping online, although some of you may already fear it, I just want you to think before you give out any details. If you’re going to be giving out your email address, a clever tip may be to use one a spare that you’ve created in case of spam so that your main email address won’t be filled with spam.

I would also like to make it clear that if a website does have a good design, this still doesn’t mean that it’s secure. As I mentioned previously, there are a lot of resources out there that could be used to create a decent looking website so it wouldn’t be hard for a scammer to utilise one of them. So, make sure that you do some research on the website first to make sure that it’s legit and if you need to pay for anything try and do it through PayPal to ensure total internet safety.

Should I believe a pop-up?

The simple answer is no. Generally speaking, a popup is trying to advertise something or is a malicious ad that wants to infect your system or get details out of you. This is where internet safety comes in. I always like to think that if the pop-up isn’t a direct reaction to something I have done then I don’t need it. That would include clicking a button whether it be a submit button, a page link or anything else related to the website. If it isn’t linked to what I expected it to be then it will be closed straight away.

A common pop up to be aware of is one that mentions you have a virus. Firstly, if you’re on a mac then it’s highly unlikely. Secondly, if you didn’t see a virus scan then nine times out of ten you won’t have a virus. If you see this message it’s always good to check by going directly to your virus scanner and doing a full scan of your machine, but you shouldn’t follow any links that come with the pop-up.

In conclusion…

The internet can be a very dangerous place… but it can also be the key to unlock you to the rest of the world. Personally, I love the internet because when used correctly you have endless knowledge at your fingertips, the world is your oyster in just a few clicks. You can connect to people on the other side of the world, and you can also order food to be delivered within the hour, which is by far one of the best advances of the internet, in my professional opinion.

If you play the internet game correctly and don’t give away too much information without ensuring full internet safety, there is absolutely no reason as to why you can’t reap the benefits of the online world.

 

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