Create an online security plan to help keep you safe

Did you know that Australians spend approximately 40 hours online every single week? It shouldn’t really come as a surprise considering how helpful the internet is for our daily lives – we can do our shopping and banking, catch up on the latest news, interact with friends and family, and even do our jobs!

But like most things in this world, there are hidden dangers on the internet – so it pays to be prepared. A good idea is to create an online security plan that will help keep everyone in your family safe, from the kids up to the grandparents. Here are six tips that can help keep everyone safe.

1. Always be conscious of your privacy and security

Ever heard the phrase “Never trust a stranger”? The same is a golden rule for the internet: don’t trust people you meet online – it’s just not worth the risk. Your personal safety, privacy and security are of the utmost importance.

Make sure your family understand to never share personal details online and that includes their passwords. If you have young children or there are people who use your computer who aren’t tech-savvy, then you can adjust your privacy settings that will help to keep everyone’s details secure.

2. Keep the lines of communication wide open

Always keep the lines of communication open about online safety. First step: make it a rule that online activity in the house should never be hidden. Maybe that means no laptops and phones in bedrooms or other non-common areas of your home.

Similarly, you might like to give your family regular updates about any new threats (for example, phishing attacks are on the rise – here’s how to spot the scams), as well as show them helpful websites to teach them how to stay safe online.

3. Never share personal information online

You might be surprised by just how easy it is to impersonate someone online. Some hackers don’t even need to steal your personal information – if you post regularly on social media and leave your accounts open to be viewed by the public (rather than changing your settings to ‘private mode’ so only your friends and family can see it), everything is already available to them.

A good rule of thumb is to check on all your social media accounts and go to the privacy settings. There, you can choose who sees your activity, such as “friends only”. Likewise, inform anyone in your family that they should never share their passwords with others, and to change them regularly. And it goes without saying that any online banking details such as user names and passwords should stay absolutely private.

4. Use secure networks for important tasks

The only websites that are secure when sending and receiving data are URLs that start with ‘https’. If there’s a website asking you for sensitive information (e.g. your bank details for online shopping) that only starts with ‘http’ then be very wary!

Using a secure network (with the URL beginnings with ‘https’) for activities such as banking, work and schooling will help to protect you from online threats.

5. Be respectful and empathetic

It might not feel like it sometimes, but there’s always another person on the other side of an online conversation. Online bullying and trolling are big problems, especially among young people on the internet, so teach your family about respect and empathy from a young age. This can help them have more positive experiences and interactions when online messaging, and even make them more respectful communicators in real life.

Similarly, if you or they are on the receiving end of online abuse, you should report it to the appropriate authorities. Here are some helpful resources that can help tackle it.

6. Think before posting or sharing

Here’s some food for thought: everything you put on the internet is there forever and it can be difficult to permanently delete. It’s easy to forget the reality of posting and sharing things online, but if recent history has taught us anything it’s that your internet history can become public when you least expect it.

So it pays to be mindful whenever you’re online. Whether it’s publishing pictures of yourself or sharing a political blog with your network, think carefully before hitting that ‘post’ button.

There’s no denying that the internet has made our lives faster, more interconnected and fun. However, it’s still important to stay safe and secure when you’re online and to help educate others about how this can be done.

Since you’re already taking the time to create an online security plan to protect your family, why not also review your insurance policies? Real Income Protection Insurance is all about taking care of your most valuable asset – you and your ability to earn an income. Request a quote online today.