Internet Safety Guide for College Students
Student life brings novelty to one’s routine. But it also brings new obligations. Being a college student means being responsible for:
- Your time;
- Financial security;
- Keeping things in order;
- Your safety and security in general.
We can also add online safety to the last point. The thing is, students spend around 45% of their time online. Therefore, for students, the internet safety is an inevitable part of the responsibility list.
But, is it that easy to provide digital safety for students?
Let’s try to find the answer: in this article, I will provide you with various examples, research information, and internet safety tips for students.
First of all, what does online safety actually mean? Basically, this is one’s ability to protect his or her data while using the Internet. For instance, Jeff Bezos, the world’s wealthiest person, has recently appeared on the papers’ headlines because of the leak of his personal online correspondence. He is getting divorced now.
But even if you are not a billionaire, you are still risking your data to be used against your will.
- For target advertising;
- For scientific researches;
- For stealing your intellectual property (your ideas, thoughts, even essays);
- For stealing your identity.
You see, there are plenty of purposes. Therefore, let’s deal with what college students need to know about online safety to protect him/herself.
1) Keep your privacy settings on
Surely, you are free to choose whatever works for you when it comes to online security! However, if you want to minimize the chances of your personal data being used by marketers and hackers, turn your privacy-protecting settings on. As it is supposed to be, both web browsers and mobile operating systems have settings available to protect your privacy online.
Make sure you have enabled these privacy safeguards and keep them enabled.
2) Be careful what you download
As a student, you probably spend a lot of time searching for some studies-related info online. For example, while writing your essays. There’s plenty of materials, samples, and papers that you can download for free.
But there is the thing: research papers online and download them from inscrutable sources can lead to a leak of your personal data and virus contamination of your gadget. So, please, if you’re discovering the topic, collecting the data, or using free essays online services be careful with downloading it on your device and only use resources you can trust. Otherwise, it could harm your computer and possibly your finances.
3) Choose strong passwords
If the Internet is a door for students, then the passwords should be locked. There is no way you will leave your door open when you leave the house, right?
Depending on a neighborhood, you choose the best quality padlock you can find.
Therefore, choose your password carefully and consciously, so no one can rob you.
A password manager software can help you to manage multiple passwords so that you don’t forget them. A strong password should be unique and complex — at least 15 characters long; should include letters, numbers, and special characters.
4) Check whether your internet connection is secure
When you connect to the web in public places, for example, by using a public Wi-Fi connection, you usually have no direct control over its security. Corporate cybersecurity experts warn about the so-called “endpoints” — the places where a private network connects to the outside world. Your vulnerable endpoint is your local Internet connection. Make sure your device is secure, and when having any doubts, wait for a better time (i.e., until you’re able to connect to a secure Wi-Fi network) before providing information such as your bank account number.
5) Do online shopping on secure websites
For students, online safety is a long and complicated chain of actions and minor details. One more feature is safe online shopping. Each time you make a purchase online, you need to provide credit card or bank account information — just what cybercriminals are most eager to get their hands on. Therefore, you should always read terms and conditions, check reviews, and general info about the website. Always think twice and be conscious.
6) Be careful what you post
There is no “take out” term on the Internet: everything you post stays there forever. Do not post anything that can be used against you, or at least you don’t want your mom or employer to see it. What is more, do not put any personal information online; there is no need for strangers to know what is your phone number, address, e-mail, etc.
To sum up, now you are the one who is responsible for your own security. So do your job 100% and stay safe. Good luck!