Internet Safety Advice for Adults, Parents and Carers

For more information for Parents please visit here.

The internet is now an integral part of all our lives. Whether we are sending e-mails to family, looking up old school friends or hunting the latest bargains on-line our use of the internet has grown astonishingly in recent years. So too have the ways we can access the web. Once we needed a desk top computer, then lap tops came along, now we can use cable TV, smart phones, games consoles and many other devices, often using wireless networking or ‘wi-fi’.

Using this technology can be confusing, especially when lots of technical jargon is involved, and it is easy to feel uncertain and unsafe in the ‘virtual world’, especially when you read newspaper or other reports about the latest ‘scam’. But there are some basic, non-technical, steps we can all take to keep ourselves safe on-line.

How do I protect my password, bank and credit card details?

Lots of us use websites for e-mails, banking and shopping, and we may be worried that the information we give, such as card or account details or passwords may be stolen by criminals. However, most reputable websites will use a security and encryption system on their sites which works like this:

Have a look at the address of this site at the top of the page. You will see that it begins http://. This stands for hyper text transfer protocol. This is a form of computer language which enables one computer to talk to another over the net. Frequently, when you are asked for password or other sensitive information, the website address will change to: https://. The extra ‘s’ means that those pages have additional security. The next time you’re signing into your e-mail, bank account, credit card account or similar take a moment to check if your site is operating this system.

Of course, this is no substitute for keeping our password and financial details confidential. All of us need to be aware of the information we are giving out about ourselves, especially in on line situations like social networking sites. A really good rule to keep in mind when using these sites is this:

If you wouldn’t tell a stranger, don’t put it on line.

Finally, if you need to leave your computer while you’re logged into any site, either lock it, or log out. Never leave your computer unattended while you’re logged into a bank or credit card account, e-mail or social networking site.

What are the other risks involved in using the internet, and what can I do about it?

For most people, using the internet is perfectly safe. However, all of us using it should bear in mind that there are people out there who use the net for criminal purposes. Here are the main areas of concern. To find out how to avoid being caught out, click on the links, it will take you to another web site.

When you’ve finished just click on ‘back’ to return to this page.

Identity theft, (Also known as ‘phishing’):

Computer viruses:

Malicious anti-virus software:

Wireless networking, or ‘wi-fi’:

For information on how to keep children safe on line click here.

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