29th October is World Internet Day and that got us thinking about how to stay safe online.  Kids are taught all about Internet Safety at school these days, but what about those of us who left school before the explosion of the internet?  Perhaps it's worth taking a look at some of those rules for kids, and seeing if they apply to us, too?

businessman hand showing Internet security word on book online business as concept

Safety Net Kids has these 10 tips for staying safe online:

1)      Don’t post any personal information online – like your address, email address or mobile number.

2)      Think carefully before posting pictures or videos of yourself.  Once you’ve put a picture of yourself online most people can see it and may be able to download it, it’s not just yours anymore.

3)      Keep your privacy settings as high as possible

4)      Never give out your passwords

5)      Don’t befriend people you don’t know

6)      Don’t meet up with people you’ve met online.  Speak to your parent or carer about people suggesting you do

7)      Remember that not everyone online is who they say they are

8)      Think carefully about what you say before you post something online

9)      Respect other people’s views, even if you don’t agree with someone else’s views doesn’t mean you need to be rude

10)   If you see something online that makes you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or worried: leave the website, turn off your computer if you want to and tell a trusted adult immediately.

Boy and girl working together on a laptop at school.

Ok, so some of these can be taken with a inch of salt once we're adults - especially the trusted adult part (err, I think that's us now??!) but it's certainly worth having a think about how we could make ourselves safer.  So looking at the list above, and applying it to adult life:

We might need to post contact details online - but they don't have to be our own - it's easy to set up a free 'work' email address instead of using your private one, and you can easily set up a divert, so you've still only got one inbox to check.

The tips on Passwords, Privacy Settings and Photos apply just as much to us as to kids, but what about befriending strangers? We need to do that, to grow our business presence, don't we?  Well, yes, but again, there's no need to use your private social media pages.  Most platforms allow you to create a business page, so use that instead, to keep your personal life personal.

If you never met up with people you've met online, it might make it hard to do business with them, and online dating would certainly be much more complicated, but at least be mindful of safety.  It goes without saying really that you should meet in a public place and let someone know where you are.  It no longer needs to be a parent or carer though!

Think carefully and respect other people's views - wouldn't the internet be a nicer place if everyone did this?  The president of the US himself struggles with this though, so what hope for the rest of us??

Finally, if you do feel unsafe, uncomfortable or worried, in any area of life, not just online, the best thing any of us can do is find a trusted adult to share with!  Perhaps we could take a few tips from the kids after all?!

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