Everyone Needs To Careful When Using the Internet

That includes senior citizens as well as children.

Pikesville, Md. (KM) – Today, Tuesday, February 8th, 2022, is Safe Internet Day. It’s a global effort to raise awareness about emerging on line issues as people of all ages are surrounded by¬† computers and other digital devices.

On this day, and every day, it’s important for parents to talk with their children about internet safety, according to Joe Dugan, the Internet Safety Specialist for the Maryland State Police. He says there’s a loss of privacy for anyone who uses the World Wide Web. “We have, we’ll say, a middle school relationship between a young lady,  a young man. That relationship gets to  the point maybe time to share some images. That relationship lasts about a week and a half, and now these images are out there and they’ve starting sharing them that with their friends,” says Dugan.

He says it’s important for parents to educate themselves about the dangers of the internet, and remind their children not to talk with strangers on line. “What I promote is just parents being a part of their child’s life. That’s the number-one thing, either on line or off,” Dugan says. “If you’re a part of child’s life, they’re going to be safer both on line and off.”

This is important, according to the Maryland State Police Computer Crimes Unit, because one in six youths ages 6-17 have admitted sharing a nude image, and 50% said they didn’t care if they knew the recipient in real life. Also, 41% of those young people who shared a nude image have sent images to people they believed were adults. And one if four sextortation cares were 13 or younger when they were threatened.

Parents are encouraged to place computers in the common area of the house, make reasonable rules and set screen time limits. Continue to remind children not to take to strangers on line. All accounts should be placed in the parents’ names, and know your children’s passwords. In addition, don’t let children give our personal information on line and review the histories and logs of the devices your kids use.

Dugan says senior citizens also need to be careful when they use the internet. He says it’s important for seniors not to click on any link that looks suspicious.

Some senior citizens have Amazon accounts, and these individual could be contacted by a person claiming to be a representative from the on line retailer thanking them for a recent purchase. “If you did not purchase this, or want continue as purchase, just click the link in this e-mail and we’ll straighten it out,” he says. “You go to the link and e-mail, and you go to click on it. It has you sign in to what looks like your Amazon account, but it’s not. And all you’re doing is giving some person access to your Amazon account. Once you sign in, you give them your user name and password.,”

He says you shouldn’t signing on to any links through an e-mail “If you have a question with Amazon, go to their actual website and sign in there. If you have a question for Microsoft, go to Mircosoft and sign in there,” says Dugan.

Other advice for seniors, according to Dugan, include using extreme caution when sharing personal information on line, and avoiding suspicious e-mail that ask for personal information. Along with that, maintain adequate Internet security, and avoid any links asking for access to your computer. Also, create strong passwords and never send money to anyone you don’t know. Finally, always validate someone’s identity before rusting them on line.

By Kevin McManus