On the Information Highway, just like in the real world, you’ve got to know the rules of the road to play safe. Follow our Safety Highway, and watch out for sign posts along the way!
Cyber-Strangers - Cyber-Friends
Every kid learns not to talk to strangers in the real world. But one of the neat things about the Internet is that you can talk to people from all over the world. Most cyber-surfers are interested in the same things you are - to have some fun and learn some stuff - but there are bad strangers in Cyberspace too. Follow these safety tips and keep your cyber-journeys safe:
- If someone asks a lot of questions about you (like your name, age, what school you go to, what your parents do for a living or what you look like) be careful. It’s hard to tell a good stranger from a bad stranger in Cyberspace. And not all strangers tell you who they really are - some strangers may be only pretending to be a kid.
- Be careful of special contests and prizes. Sometimes, companies use free prizes and other fun ideas to ask you a lot of questions about who you are, so they can sell you things. Don’t give companies a free ride. Keep your personal information private!
- If you want to meet a cyber-friend IRL (cyber-speak for “in the real world”), make sure it’s someone you’ve known for a while in Cyberspace - and always take an adult with you when you go to meet them. The best meeting places are public places where there are a lot of other people too.
Don’t Take Cookies From Strangers
When you visit a site on the Web, the computer on the other end can ask your computer all sorts of things about you, like what kind of computer you have, and what sites you visit on the Web. All they have to do is save a “cookie” on your hard drive.
Don’t leave a trail of crumbs for someone else to follow you! Set your browser to just say “No!” to cookies.
Roaming From Home Sweet Home
Every kid deserves to feel safe. When you go roaming in Cyberspace, it’s easy to stumble on a site which makes you feel uncomfortable or scared. Remember the rule! Click out of there - fast! You just have to click on your “Back” button to get back in safe territory.
And when you’re not sure about a site, leave and ask your teacher or your parents what they think about it before you visit it again.
Don’t Leave Home Without Your Password!
When you use a computer password, it’s like locking the door to your house when you leave. Make it tough for cyber-criminals to break into your cyber-home.
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for computer passwords:
- Never use your name or the name of a family member as your password. It’s the first thing most hackers will try. Choose a password that’s easy for you to remember but that’s not easy for hackers to guess!
- A longer password is a harder password to crack. Think of it this way … If you have to guess a word that’s only 1 letter long, it’s a lot easier than guessing a word that’s 7 letters long. The more letters, the more possibilities! Computer hackers use computer programmes to “fill in the blanks” of an unknown password - the longer the password, the harder it is for the computer to go through all the possible combinations.
- Change your password regularly. That way, if a hacker cracks it once, the next time he or she tries to use your password, you’ll have changed the lock to your front door and the old key won’t fit!
Follow the safety rules and enjoy your cyber-treks!