You, the Internet and Trust
These days, most of us take the internet for granted for many of the things we do every day. Things we do from choice like social media, reading the news or streaming entertainment, and things we have to do like accessing official services.
The internet’s unequalled choice, 24/7 convenience and flexibility are benefits that suit people of all ages, wherever they live or work. Others, however, prefer to do things the traditional, offline way for many reasons, a major one being including trust. We’ve all either experienced at first hand or heard about negative experiences including online fraud or abuse which are, unfortunately, all too commonplace.
In order to go online with safety and confidence, it’s important to get to know who and what you can trust … and who and what you can’t.
Your top trust tips
Safeguard your children
It’s good to trust your child to behave safely and responsibly online but remember, they learn from being curious and develop by pushing boundaries. Consider parental and ISP filters too.
Chat regularly with your child about what they do online and get them to show you. Cover the potential negatives, like oversharing, exposure to inappropriate content, cyberbullying and stranger danger, whether on social media, while messaging or on gaming and other platforms which feature chat. Talk about who they should and shouldn’t trust.
Steer your child towards safe searching and trustworthy websites and apps. Check what they’re watching and/or sharing on streaming sites like YouTube and TikTok. Encourage them to use child-friendly platforms like YouTube Kids.
It’s important that everybody feels they can trust in using the internet with safety and confidence, regardless of gender, ability, appearance, background or beliefs by trusting their own and others’ behaviour. Always act with respect, put yourself in the position of others and treat people as you’d like to be treated yourself, earning their trust at the same time. If you fall victim to abuse or discrimination yourself, have strategies in place to mitigate the issues.
Buy online safely
From trainers to trucks, tickets to tech, handbags to holidays, you can buy anything online. But fraudsters use auction sites, social media networks and other online marketplaces to lure in their victims with advertisements for products that simply don’t exist. Learn how to spot the signs of an untrustworthy advertisement, post or email. And to find out whether a website is likely to be legitimate or fraudulent, visit www.getsafeonline.org/checkawebsite
Misinformation and fake news: spot the difference
There is a substantial volume of both fake news and misinformation on the internet, some of it intended to be malicious, some quite innocent. Unfortunately, many people trust in everything they read and not only act on it, but pass it on too. It’s very important that you can tell the difference between real and fake information by asking yourself if it really seems authentic and checking it against other, respected sources.
Be social but be careful
With a community of billions of people on social media, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that you need to take care when using it.
For example, take time to think about who might see your profile and what you post or comment on. Can you trust everybody with what you’re sharing?
Also, think about friend requests: can you trust that somebody is who they claim to be?
And remember that posts and messages that catch your eye may also not be as they seem. Charitable appeals could be genuine … or they may be fraudulent. Quizzes and surveys may be designed to capture your confidential data. Advertisements may be fake. Always think twice before you click or respond.