Warning: This story was published more than a year ago.


We all know that the internet can be a dangerous place. Follow these 5 tips, and you ’ll be a whole lot more se cure online .
1: Don’t give away any personal information while online Whether it’s from your parents, an older sibling or a teacher at your school, chances are you’ve heard this one before. So you know not to tell strangers your phone number, or give someone you meet online your address. But there’s more ways of giving away your personal details while surfing the internet. The simplest one is through online logins. Nowadays, most websites have a function where you can create an account online. These accounts allow you to access special features, shop online, and most dangerously, chat with complete strangers. The most important thing to remember when signing up to one of these sites is to pick a good username. It may sound a bit obvious, but by using your own name as your online identity you are suddenly letting everyone know who you really are. This is all the information someone you don’t know needs to look you up in the directory, and access your phone number and address. Remember, it’s always best to stay anonymous on the internet. Besides, a name like ‘Ninja’ or ‘KingofAwesomeness’ is much more exciting than ‘John.Smith’.
2: Remember to log out of computers in public areas
 Computers are becoming a common site in most public areas. Whether it’s at the library, your school or an internet cafe, most people use this handy resource regularly. What most people forget to do, and I admit, it is quite hard to remember, is sign out of online accounts. The point of public computers is that hundreds of people can use them. This means that, if you forget to log out of your accounts, those hundreds of people have access to your email, your online identities or even worse, your bank account details. Once these people are in they can spend your money, post rude comments on online forums which will appear like they are from you, and even change your password to shut you out of your own account. Even if the person after you doesn’t take advantage of your carelessness, the next person might.
 3: Choose your passwords carefully
Passwords are what keep unwanted people out of your online accounts. If you pick one too obvious or reuse the same one too often, you could find yourself shut out of your own account. Try to pick one that nobody will be able to guess, especially people who know you well. Try to use a minimum of six characters and include at least one number. The longer it is, the harder it will be to guess. Although it is tempting to reuse the same password for convenience, reusing passwords can be dangerous. If somebody catches you typing in the password to one of your accounts, they automatically have access to all of them. Try to make your passwords as complicated as possible, but make sure you can remember them yourself.
4: Be careful what you say online
Whether it is through email, online forums or social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter, the internet is the new place to chat. But you have to be careful what you say. Anything you post online can be printed out, saved for future reference and stored on the internet forever. This means that even a passing comment such as ‘That Barbara girl is such a big meanie’ can be shown around the whole school and once it’s out there in writing, there’s no denying you said it. Another problem with online chatting is the lack of expression in the written word. While a comment such as ‘You’re such an idiot’ along with a sarcastic voice and a big smile on your face can make for a laugh when hanging out with your friends, online it can be easily interpreted the wrong way. One trick employers use when choosing who to pick for their businesses is searching for online accounts such as Facebook. This means that a careless comment written at age 10 could ruin your job opportunities further on. Just remember: anything you say or do online can be read and interpreted by the entire world.
5: Take care when downloading
There are thousands of websites on the world wide web which offer downloading music, movies, software and other files free of charge. While they may seem an easy and free way to access your music and movies, there can be some strings attached which are deadly to your computer. Viruses are capable of doing anything from finding out all your online passwords to causing your computer to crash, and the worst part is, unless you have good anti-virus software installed, there is nothing you can do to stop them. The other big issue with downloading over the internet is that most of these websites are actually illegal. This means that by downloading from these websites you are violating the copyright of the artist/artists, which can land you a heavy fine or possibly even jail time. So what can you do to prevent this? Some bands and TV studios have legitimate free versions of their music and movies online available for download. If you can’t find these anywhere online for free, try an online shop such as iTunes, or heading to your local DVD store.

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