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PC Tips

Safe Internet Surfing Tips


Contents :-

Personal information

Personal information should not be given away over the Internet without careful consideration, particularly information like your email address, postal address, credit card number, etc.
First rule of smart surfing. Remain as anonymous as possible. That means keeping all private information private.


Here are some examples of private information that you should never give out on the Internet:

• full name
• home address
• phone number
• Social Security number
• passwords
• names of family members
• credit card numbers


Most credible people and companies will never ask for this type of information online. So if someone does, it's a red flag that they may be up to no good.
Think carefully before you create an email address or screen name. Web experts recommend that you use a combination of letters and numbers in both — and that you don't identify whether you're male or female.
In chat rooms, use a nickname that's different from your screen name. That way, if you ever find yourself in a conversation that makes you uncomfortable, you can exit without having to worry that someone knows your screen name and can track you down via email. Some people who hang out with their friends online set up private chat rooms where only they and the people they invite can enter to chat.

Experts recommend that people keep online friendships in the virtual world. Meeting online friends face to face carries more risks than other types of friendships because it's so easy for people to pretend to be something they're not when you can't see them or talk in person.
If you ever get involved in a chat room conversation that makes you feel uncomfortable or in danger for any reason, exit and tell a parent or other adult right away so they can report the incident.

If you do want to give someone your Extra email address its a good idea to only give out an email alias, rather than your primary email address. You can always change your email alias further on if need be.

Another good precaution to take is using a 'drop box'. This is a free email account registered with a service like Hotmail or Yahoo mail to provide a degree of separation between your primary Internet account and the people you meet on the net. If some of the messages you receive begin to make you feel uncomfortable, it's easy to start afresh by simply discarding the drop box and registering another one in its place.
Some Internet users will often also withhold their full names, using a 'nick', or screen-name instead. This is more a matter of preference than of personal safety, but it is an option you have on many chat rooms, forums and Web sites, and you may like to consider it.

Cyber bullying

It's not just strangers who can make you feel uncomfortable online. Cyberbullying refers to cruel or bullying messages sent to you online. These might be from former friends or other people you know. They can be irritating and, in some cases, even frightening.
If you get these bullying messages online, it's often better to ignore them rather than answer them. Cyberbullies, just like other bullies, may be angry or disturbed people — and may be looking for attention or a reaction.


Fortunately, most people never experience cyberbullying. But if you're getting cyberbullied and ignoring it doesn't make it go away, getting help from a parent, school counselor, or another trusted adult may be a good idea. That's especially true if the cyberbullying contains threats.

Credit Cards


Online shopping Web sites have varying security policies. Its a good idea to check a Web site's security policies before giving them any personal details.
• Good shopping Web sites will have encrypted order forms to protect the privacy of your personal details.
• Be aware that if you don't get what you paid for, or receive faulty goods you should contact your bank to reverse the charges.


Pick the right sites

If you enjoy chatting or posting on Internet forums, consider using moderated sites. Moderated chat rooms and forums have a person in authority (usually a volunteer) with access to administrative tools for banning users who misbehave or post distasteful messages. A moderator is usually able to keep things polite and friendly, and stops arguments from escalating into outright 'flame wars'.
A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that extreme sites attract extreme personalities, so if you want to be cautious, mainstream sites are better areas to visit.


Keep a cool head

One hazard peculiar to the Internet is 'trolls'. These are mischief-makers on chat rooms, forums and newsgroups who are aware that they are entitled to the same protection you are, and deliberately go out of their way to provoke an angry reaction in the hope of causing trouble for other users. The best advice we can give you is "Don't feed the trolls", by which we mean don't give them the response they want. The solution which works most often is to ignore them, and in general they'll go away.


Surf with your kids

Even with filtering software, the Internet still gives children access to information and sites that you might prefer not to have them look at. Just by way of analogy, if you take your children to the local library, you might not want to discover them leafing through illustrated medical textbooks or reading personal accounts by World War II soldiers even though the librarians consider material like this to be suitable for everyone.
We encourage our users to discuss what is or isn't okay to view with children before allowing them on the Internet, and to enforce these limits by periodically checking the browser's history list to see what sites have been visited.


You can view the browser's history list by holding down the control (CTRL) key and pressing the letter 'H'. If the list is blank, this usually indicates that the browser has only just been installed and no sites have been visited yet -- or that someone has recently erased the history list.


Another thing you can do is select a range of sites you approve of for your children and bookmark these. If you want to restrict access so that only these sites can be visited, you can disable the browser's location bar so that new addresses cannot be entered (but please keep in mind that kids learn fast -- especially when it comes to configuring computer programs!)

To disable the location bar in Internet Explorer:
• Click on 'View'.
• Click on 'Toolbars'.
• Click on 'Address bar'.

And to restore the location bar, perform these same actions again.

To disable the location bar in Netscape Communicator:

• Click on 'View'.
• Click on 'Show'.
• Click on 'Navigation toolbar'.

Online Annoyances

Although email is relatively private, hackers can still access it — or add you to their spam lists. Spam, like advertisements or harassing or offensive notes, is annoying. But spam blockers can keep your mailbox from getting clogged. Many service providers will help you block out or screen inappropriate emails if your parents agree to set up age-appropriate parental controls.
If you don't recognize the sender of a document or file that needs to be downloaded, delete it without opening it to avoid getting a virus on your machine. Virus protection software is a must for every computer.


In addition, you can buy software that helps rid your computer of unwanted spy ware programs that report what your computer is doing. Some service providers make software available to protect you from these and other online annoyances, such as blockers for those in-your-face pop-up ads.

If you do invest in protective software, you'll need to keep it updated to be sure it continues to do its job as new technologies evolve.
With all the problems you can face online, is it worth it? For most people, the answer is definitely yes. You just need to know where the pitfalls are, use some common sense and caution, and you'll be in control.

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