It is an unfortunate fact of life on the Internet that the relative anonymity of computer interactions allows the possibility that some people are not who and what they claim to be. Mosaic Minds management held a forum on Internet safety. Community members were asked to respond to the question, “What are some of the ways that you keep yourself safe on the Internet?” The following is a compilation of techniques used. They are listed here for your consideration when determining ways to help keep yourself safe on the Internet.
Take full responsibility for your own safety.
Treat Internet relations the same way you do 3d — safety first. Take time in getting to know people on the Internet just as you do in 3D. It is a good idea to treat initial posts to people you don’t know like encountering a stranger in the street. Be cautious until you determine if you want to know them or not. View the interactions of people for a time and do not get too personal with them. Keep one eye open at all times. Decide for yourself if you are comfortable with another person rather than relying solely on the fact that s/he interacts with someone known to you.
Don’t use your last name anywhere online. Do not give out personal information. Treat the situation on a “need to know” basis. Be very cautious about giving out your telephone number and 3D address. Be a lot more careful with those that live in your general vicinity – having someone that close could present a problem.
Trust your instincts. Question if something doesn’t feel right. If you don’t feel safe, get out of where you are, sometimes to the point of turning off the computer.
Always supervise young ones on the Internet, having an adult at least in the background to keep an eye on things.
Find out as much as you can about a site before beginning to participate; observe for a time.
Look for online services that respect individual privacy. Use online services that respect their users’ wishes to close out an account. Establish a web-based anonymous email account and do not provide your full name. Use a web-based email that allows you to actually delete your account instantaneously. Take advantage of the “block user” features for people about whom you have a concern.
Ask anyone who emails you to avoid including you on mass-mailings unless you are blind carbon copied.
Use privacy status and or invisible mode and disable member-online features when logged onto an online service. Require your authorization before someone can add you to their online messaging.
Do not use options to remember passwords.
From the technical security side, use a firewall on any PC connecting to the Internet to keep your computer essentially invisible. Monitor who is monitoring you with cookies. Do not use any programs that want to track you.
And once again, trust your instincts.