Going online lets you keep learning, connect with friends and family and play games. Just as you fasten your seat belt before driving, take precautions before using the Internet to be sure you are safe and secure. The first step is to STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™: take safety measures, think about the consequences of your actions and connect knowing you have taken steps to safeguard yourself when online.
STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™, in partnership with Cyber-Seniors, wants to make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience while online. We have a few tips that will help as you learn how to use new technology.
- Lock your devices, like your tablet and phone: You lock the front door to your house, and you should do the same with your devices. Use strong passwords or passcodes to lock your tablet and phone. Securing your devices keeps prying eyes out and can help protect your information in case your devices are lost or stolen.
- Think before you act: Ignore emails or communications that create a sense of urgency and require you to respond to a crisis, such as a problem with your bank account or taxes. This type of message is likely a scam.
- When in doubt, throw it out: Clicking on links in emails are often how bad guys get access to personal information. If an email looks weird, even if you know the person who sent it, it’s best to delete.
- Make your password a sentence: A strong password is a sentence that is at least 12 characters long. Focus on positive sentences or phrases that you like to think about and are easy to remember (for example, “I love country music.”). On many sites, you can even use spaces!
- Unique account, unique password: Having separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals. At a minimum, separate your work and personal accounts and make sure that your critical accounts have the strongest passwords.
- Write it down and keep it safe: Everyone can forget a password. Keep a list that’s stored in a safe, secure place away from your computer.
- What you post will last forever: Be aware that when you post a picture or message online, you may also be inadvertently sharing personal details with strangers about yourself and family members ‒ like where you live.
- Post only about others as you would like to have them post about you: The golden rule applies online as well.
- Own your online presence: It’s OK to limit who can see your information and what you share. Learn about and use privacy and security settings on your favorite websites.
STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ is the first-ever coordinated message to help all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online. The message was created by an unprecedented coalition of companies, nonprofits and government organizations. In 2009, the Anti-Phishing Working Group and National Cyber Security Alliance led the effort to find a unified online safety message that could be adapted across public and private sectors. The goal is to help everyone understand the risks and benefits that come with using the Internet.
For more tips and information about staying safe online, visit stopthinkconnect.org.
Building on the award-winning documentary “Cyber-Seniors” and the high school community service project that inspired it, the Cyber-Seniors non-profit organization and Connecting Generations campaign encourages tech savvy youth to share their knowledge by mentoring older adults. .
For information on Cyber-Seniors and the Connecting Generations campaign please visit www.cyberseniorsdocumentary.com