How We Can Increase Online Safety

What Is Online Safety?

Online safety directly refers to users online keeping themselves safe. There are many different forms of onlineharm, this can range from leaks of personal information, unsafe communications, and online abuse.

Online and internet safety is massively important as the consequences can be dire if you do not act safely online. There are many ways that we as users can increase our online safety and there are also ways that online platforms can help to increase the safety of their users and minimise online threats. 

Personal Information 

One of the ways that we as users can increase our online safety is by minimising the amount of personal information we share online. By posting things such as your address, date of birth, and phone number online, you are directly putting yourself in harm’s way. By putting this information online, you are exposing yourself to potential identity theft, stalking or harassment.

The more personal information that you post online, the easier it is for others to take the information and use it maliciously to complete a successful data breach.

Two Factor Authentication 

Another way that we can increase our online safety is by implementing two step verification. Two step verification means that anyone trying to access your account must provide two pieces of evidence proving that they have been allowed access to the account. This is usually a password and one other method. 

This could be a verification code sent to a mobile number that is attached to the account or often it could be a security question that is personal to the account holder. Two factor authentication helps to keep your account safe and helps to prevent your accounts from being hacked. Two step verification is already very common when accessing email addresses.

Use A Virtual Private Network 

A Virtual Private Network, also known as a VPN, is a connection from the internet through the means of a mobile device, or other devices which can connect to the internet,to a network that has been encrypted. This means that the data has been concealed by converting it into a code. 

Using a Virtual Private Network can help you to stay safe online due to the fact that it encrypts your connection, this means that no one is able to see the data that you are transferring. Using a VPN also means that your internet protocol address is masked, this means that you have unconditional online privacy and anonymity when transferring data 

Require ID For Social Media 

One of the ways that social media platforms can help to make the internet a safer place is through requiring photographic identification when setting up an online account. This would be immensely helpful when it comes to combating online abuse. Many people find a great amount of comfort in knowing that they can hide their identity and they believe that they can get away with saying whatever they like on social media, without having to face any consequences. 
It is often at the forefront of the news that masses of celebrities receive online abuse, some of the abuse is even racially fuelled, Russel Haworth wrote a great blog post about this, which you can read here. However, this abuse is not just reserved for celebrities, normal people can also be subject to this abuse. It is time for social media platforms to implement the rule of requiring ID.