Internet Safety

"Cyberbullying - A Deadly Epidemic"

by John Stephens, Sr VP, Keenan and Associates

Bringing 20 years of public agency risk management experience on the issue, John Stephens of California’s Keenan and Associates is uniquely qualified to discuss Internet safety issues such as cyberbullying. John combines his specific technical knowledge with his passionate desire to see the Internet become as safe as possible for kids and adults.

The term “Internet safety” encompasses wide range of concerns and practices that can have a negative impact on both businesses and individuals.

Perhaps one of the most important safety priorities on the Web is protecting youth from threats such as cyberbullying, sexting and online predators. When children navigate websites at home or at school, they should never distribute personal information including name, address, phone number, photos, etc. They should also get consent and supervision from parents or guardians before meeting someone they have met on the Internet and report suspicious activity immediately. There are several excellent organizations and resource available for helping families keep their children safe when exploring the Internet and using mobile devices.

Another vital concern is avoiding fraud on the Internet, from get-rich-quick schemes to appeals for assistance from foreign “royalty.” Unfortunately, it can be rather simple for fraudsters to develop credible messages and difficult for consumers to determine what is valid content. For financial and business appeals, be cautious of fake seals and phony numbers that hoaxers produce to prospects of their authenticity. For online trading, rules of thumb include checking whether stock quotes and account updates are real-time or delayed, obtaining information about entering and canceling orders as well as the details and risks of margin accounts, and reviewing the firm’s privacy and security policies.

Consumers are also encouraged to learn how to avoid identity theft. Victims of identity theft should review credit reports and place fraud alerts immediately, close accounts that have been fraudulently manipulated, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, and file a report with local police where the identity theft took place.

Overall, safeguarding your personal information and sensitive date on your computer and on the Internet is essential protocol. Knowing what personal information you have in your files, keeping only what you need for your business, protecting your information, and disposing of what you no longer need can help minimize any potential threats.

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