Safety on the Internet
by Caitlin Donovan

KIDS UNDER 5 on the internet aren't likely have their social security number stolen, or cyber-bullied. What they do have to be careful about is opening up spam or viruses onto the computer, playing violent or inappropriate games they don't understand currently, or messing with things like firewalls by accident. Most kids under five years old don't use the internet regularly, and so when they DO get on it they are unaware of things that are harmful. Make sure your family's computers have spam blockers to keep the kids from opening them, and regulate what they do on the computer.

KIDS AGES 5 TO 11 are more likely to use the internet, which makes them more vulnerable to chat rooms, instant messaging, cyber-bullying, email and password problems. While some of the things listed above can be good, like email and being able to IM your friends, they open the doors to password problems and unsafe chat-rooms or instant messages from people you don't know. Don't give out your password to other people, and make your password difficult to guess, because people can send things on your email or IM without your knowledge, or sign up for things you don't want. Chat rooms are usually filled with people you don't know, so avoid them so that you don't get contacted by strangers through them. Don't IM people you don't know either, because they are usually experts on getting information out of you without you even realizing it. Cyber-bullying also becomes a problem once you have ways like IM and email for people to contact you, so if someone is being mean or hurtful to you through the internet, block them and tell your parents or an adult who can help you. Also be cautious of things like quizzes and surveys that ask you to give personal information- it's usually a scam! Avoid things from people or companies you don't know without parental permission.

TEENS AND TWEENS are usually pretty comfortable on the Internet after a couple years of having access, and usually have some ideas about being safe on the Internet. Many teens and tweens have social networking accounts, like Facebook, Twitter or YouTube and need to be careful about what they post on these websites. Don't post any private information, like what city you live in, where you go to school, your age or your full name. The people who can hurt you with this information are experts on the matter, and can damage your reputation severely. Another thing to be aware of is cyber-bullying, which counts being harassed or harmed through the Internet. If someone is cyber-bullying you, don't retaliate, but ignore and block them on whatever website or service they're using to harass you. Don't get involved in westing either, because you can get in trouble at school and it's a crime to send child pornography. If it gets in the wrong hands it can ruin your life. Sexual predators are on the Internet, so don't contact people you don't know and if something makes you feel uncomfortable, stop doing it. Don't forget to log out of your accounts when you leave a computer, and make sure your passwords are secret and protected. Avoid spam and phishing, which is when a scammer lucyberbully.jpgres you into a fake plot, usually for your personal information or money. If your unsure about something on the Internet, ASK AN ADULT!

20 SOMETHINGS on the Internet are old pros at the Internet, and probably the most able age group on computers. They are also very vulnerable to Identity theft, which is when someone gets your personal information and can use is for bank accounts or email or just about anything, and they can pretend to be you. To avoid this don't enter personal information onto any website unless you have checked and are positive that the website is safe. Also don't share your bank account information with ANYBODY to avoid people hacking into it and taking your money. people in their 20's still have to be wary about scams, email hackers and general unsafe things on the Internet, but usually have developed good judgement.

PEOPLE IN THEIR 40'S and 50'S are keen about what not and what not to do on the Internet-they just have to be cautious of scams, phishing and hackers. To avoid spam, don't go on websites that go against your better judgement and don't click on unknown ads and popups, and to avoid phishers make sure you know what website your on and what a website needs your information for. Make sure you have a firewall and are password protected to be safe of hackers, and make your password difficult to guess. Don't let people harass you on the Internet, and protect your bank account information with great care.

PEOPLE IN THEIR 70's are usually unaware of many of the same dangers to the Internet as middle aged people are. They might be a bit less likely to see a scam though, so firewalls are vital, and popup blockers are a must. Make sure that they have a good run down of what not to do on the Internet, like not entering personal information, and not sharing passwords or usernames. People in their 70's haven't grown up with computers being a major part of their life, so be sure that you help make the transition to having one/ access to one easy. Also make their email accounts easy to use, and inform them of identity theft and how to avoid it.


  • Don't answer IMs, Facebook friend invites, or chat room requests from people you don't know
  • Don't click on popups or ads to avoid phishing, scams and identity theft
  • Don't send inappropriate messages to avoid tying your reputation
  • If someone's cyber-bullying or harassing you, tell someone who can help
  • Always log out of your accounts when you leave a computer, and make your password difficult to guess