Thursday, 29 December 2016

SMILE and Stay Safe on the Internet

SMILE and stay safe on the internet.

The internet is a wonderful technical resource in our everyday lives.  Its
advantages are numerous from instant communication with family and friends across thousands of miles, to quickly finding information and even as a tool to learn a new language.  However, the internet and mobile devices are increasingly being used to harm, harass and manipulate both children and adults causing enormous stress and unhappiness; the consequences can be devastating.  Such incidences are reported regularly in the media and research shows that it is a growing problem for young adults and children.  Parental guidance settings, apps that block advertisements and virus protection programs can help reduce the danger, but do not eliminate it.   Children are taught in school to use the internet and mobile devices safely and with consideration to others.  At home you may find the SMILE acrostic useful for the whole family.

Stay safe.  Never reply to requests that ask for your age, gender or location or give any personal details.  Reputable companies, for example, will never ask you for your PIN in an email or text. 

Meeting up.  Do not arrange to meet up with someone you have met with on line.  In fact, it is always best to let someone know where you are going and who you are going with.

Information.  Remember that not all information you read on line is true.  On some websites, anyone can put up information and it is not checked.  Again, be wary off online friends you do not know; they may be deceiving you.

Let a parent or a trusted adult know if you are upset by something online or have received in a text or email; or that the content of what you have received is unsuitable and unpleasant.  Parents should let a their child know that they can talk about “secrets” that upset them; that there are laws, education and workplace policies and professionals to support them.

E-mails.  Never download or open e-mails, programs and photos that have been sent to you by someone you do not know because they may contain a virus or harmful malware.


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