Advice guide - Protect yourself online
Many of us use the internet as part of our daily lives, for banking, shopping, socialising and entertainment. Make sure you know how to protect your personal data and keep yourself, your friends and your family safe whilst online.
Protecting your computer
- Make sure your Wi-Fi connection is secured and encrypted with a password so that others cannot access your internet connection. Avoid logging in to your email account from a public computer (e.g. at a hotel or internet cafe)
- Ensure that your computer anti-virus and firewall software and your internet browser and plug-ins (such as Flash, Java and Silverlight) are kept up-to-date and enabled at all times.
- Never reply to spam or unsolicited emails from an unknown or untrusted sender. Make sure you don’t download attachments or click links to web pages within spam emails as these can often contain viruses. Fraudsters can make an email address and email design look like one used by someone you trust.
- Take regular back-ups of important files to an external hard drive, memory stick or online storage provider. It’s important that the device you back-up to isn’t left connected to your computer as any malware infection could spread to that too.
Online safety advice
- Regularly change your account passwords and don’t share these. Make sure you use a strong password using a mix of letters, numbers and punctuation. Use different passwords for different accounts.
- Never share your personal data such as bank details, identity details, passwords or where you live with anyone that you don’t know or can’t verify their details.
- Remember people that you meet online, might not be who they claim to be. Don’t arrange to meet people that you don’t know. If you do agree to meet someone you’ve made contact with online, make sure you tell someone when and where you are going, and take someone with you if possible.
- Before posting comments and photos of yourself, friends and family online, think carefully about whether you want others to see these.
- If you shop online, make sure you check that the companies are genuine. If you are not sure, make contact with them to confirm before purchasing, or purchase from an alternative online retailer.
- When making online purchases make sure the connection is secure by looking for the padlock icon at the top or bottom of the Internet browser. Secure web addresses should also begin with ‘https’.
- Purchase online using a secure payment method such as Paypal, or credit and debit cards.
Advice for parents and guardians
It is important to make sure that you know how to use your computer and how to look up which websites your child is accessing. Make sure you are able to restrict or block websites and material if necessary to protect your child.
The NSPCC has produced several guides on how to help inform and protect your children online (see below).
Share aware guide
A guide produced to empower parents to keep their children safe online. It includes conversation starters to help parents discuss online safety and advice on what to do if things go wrong online.
For a PDF version of this resource, please click this link.
A comprehensive guide for parents on over 50 of the top social networks, apps and games that young people use. It includes key facts for each site, recommended age ratings, and information about safety features.
Talking to your child about staying safe online
Advice and tips on how to have effective conversations with your children about an array of online topics, including cyberbullying, online porn, and sharing images and information.
How to report a problem online
- If you or your child sees inappropriate content on a website or social networking site, make sure you report it directly to where the content appears online.
- If the content relates to a crime committed in the UK, report it to the Police on 101. In the case of an emergency always dial 999.
- Contact your Internet Service Provider.
- Visit the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) or the Internet Watch Foundation
For additional online safety advice please refer to our Protect Yourself Online guide and the following websites:
- Visit the Get Safe Online website for free, independent advice on using the internet.
- Visit Action Fraud website for the UK’s national fraud reporting centre.
To speak to our Crime Prevention Unit about protecting your property and reducing your chances of becoming a victim of crime, email email@example.com