This is Moeez Omair, one of our Global Ambassadors from Explorer Hop! We are excited to share with you what he has to say about Internet Safety!
The internet is one of the greatest inventions of mankind, yet its foundations can be found within the last century. It was developed in the 1960s, where only a handful of scientists were able to make use of this technology. By 2005, the size of the internet grew to a massive 1.1 billion users, about 17% of the global population at the time. Today, there are 4.7 billion users of the internet, nearly 60% of the global population.
Especially during the current pandemic, the internet has been the primary source of income for many people, solidifying its importance on a global scale. However, the internet continues to grow, notably from users of a much younger audience. This presents new risks as there is a greater population of users who may fall for one of the countless dangers present on the internet. It is important to educate ourselves and others to have an adequate amount of knowledge when it comes to personal security online, which is generally referred to as internet safety.
“Stranger Danger!” is a saying that most, if not all of us, have heard in our early childhood which applies to internet safety. Cyberbullying is a large concern on the internet, which is performed through social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Discord, and Reddit to name a few. When you are on social media, people are targeted for their race, gender, background, and much more as it is easy to forget that each user on the platform is another person just like them. Luckily, this can be prevented by reporting the individual to the platform or even the police, but only if you are feeling threatened by the other user. By the nature of the internet, every message ever sent is permanently saved and can be tracked to its source, making it easy to catch oppressors.
When you are online, another challenge is ensuring that you are talking to the right person. It is incredibly simple for another user to change their username and profile picture to appear as one of your friends. This is incredibly dangerous as you may end up trusting and sharing personal information with the wrong person. The first way you may keep your information safe is if you do not share it, to begin with. If there is a personal conversation that you must have with a friend, try to have it in person if possible. Another fun way you and your friends can keep each other safe is to create a secret question and answer. This can be a serious question or a silly one, as long as no one else knows the answer.
To keep it simple, the rule of thumb is that if something on the internet seems too good to be true, then it probably is. You may have seen advertisements while browsing the internet that mentions a “Free iPad”, “Free Netflix Subscription”, etc. If you click on the ad, usually one of two things can happen. Either the website you are redirected to will ask for valuable information such as your name, address, and credit card information or it may try to install malware, commonly called a “computer virus”. Malware has many different types, some may track your internet activity, give a hacker access to control your system, or ask you to pay a ransom to regain files and important information on your computer. To limit such a problem from occurring, do not click on ads with skeptical offers such as a free product or service. As well, you must make sure you are on a safe website with a link that starts with “https”, as the “s” stands for secure. Sometimes, a harmful website may also have a link starting with “https”, which is where you must apply common sense to identify if the site is harmful.
Stay safe on the internet!