The number of internet users in India was expected to reach over 500 million in 2018 and subsequently surpassed that according to the report by IAMAI and Kantar IMRB. It is not unreasonable to expect that a major chunk of that 500 million will be composed of students. The youth make use of the internet for academic reasons, information gathering, and for leisure. There are no illusions left that the internet can be a good and arguably a risky place to be in. So it’s quite important for students to be aware of how they can secure their online safety.
Using a VPN
For students that have access to their own internet or even if they use public connections, making use of a virtual private network (VPN) should be made second nature. A VPN can help encrypt the information that’s going out to avoid compromising their personal data. It can also be used to hide their browsing history, their IP address, and even their exact location. With the use of social media, it is quite common for youngsters to tag their locations in their posts and their photos. A VPN also helps keep information private, so students do not inadvertently expose sensitive data to complete strangers that may use them for grooming or fraudulent activities.
Do Not Over Share
In this world, information is power. This is one of the reasons why students make use of the internet for their academic needs. For leisure, students make use of social media to obtain and share information with their community. The problem begins with students create online profiles that contain a lot of personal information like where they go to school, where they like to go, and even who their family members are. Personal information like these makes it easy for criminals to steal their identity. A good rule of safety is to avoid oversharing information on social media profiles and to ensure that privacy settings are restricted to actual friends and family only.
Strong Password Creation
When it comes to having online profiles in social media and accounts such as emails that are regularly used by students, it is critical to have strong passwords. At any given moment, there can be malicious software that is targeting a student’s mobile phone and personal computer. It would be smart for them to be aware of how to create a strong password and make it a habit to change it every 6 weeks. That way, all their accounts will have an extra layer of security.
Stay on Safe Sites
There are a lot of different websites that exist online and not all of them are good. There are some that are used for phishing purposes to obtain passwords and other information. A good rule for students is to avoid unfamiliar websites or those that do not have the “HTTPS” on the toolbar to mark that it is a secure website. It is good to always double-check the site name and meta description that shows up on search engine results before clicking on the link.
The use of the net will continue to play an integral part in the lives of students so it’s best to adapt. Knowing about the potential risks and understanding what they can do to avoid or mitigate the damage is critical. At the end of the day, the online safety of students lay in their hands and it will be up to them to safeguard it well.