Computer and online safety
Computer and online safety
The internet is a big part of daily life and more and more care and support services can be bought online.
You can also use the internet to discover how to get the most from your personal budgets and direct payments and advice to manage your money in the best way for you.
When you are using the internet, particularly if you are paying for things online, it is essential to know how to protect yourself and your personal information.
To protect you and your computer and mobile devices, the Get Safe Online website has practical advice, easy to understand information and the latest news, tips and stories from across the world.
Protecting your computer
Whatever you use your computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone for, it is important to protect them from online threats.
Whether you are playing games, browsing the internet, paying a provider or sending an email, your devices are at risk from:
- harmful software called viruses and spyware (these are also known as malware)
- identity theft phishing scams (these collect personal data such as passwords and financial information such as pin numbers and codes)
Computer and web related words can be very confusing at times. The Get Safe Online Jargon Buster can help you understand them.
Your computer and devices are also at risk from physical theft. This is particularly the case for tablets and smartphones which are often used while out in public.
There is also plenty of help online with the BBC Webwise website. The site is not updated anymore, but still has excellent information for staying safe and making the most of the internet.
Getting online and staying safe at your library
Your local library will also be able to help, with staff members able to answer basic questions, give you a helping hand and get you started. If you do not have your own computer Solihull Libraries can give you 2 hours free internet access too.
Your local library may also run computer training courses from time to time.
Computer and online safety advice for older people
Using a computer to get online can bring the world to your fingertips.
From learning the basics to get started with a computer and get connected to the internet, to showing you how to socialise with your friends and make new friends, there is plenty of help online.
You can visit the:
- Age UK website for its technology and internet advice including:
Computer and online safety advice for disabled people
Having access to a computer and being able to browse the internet is a great way to stay more independent.
AbilityNet is a charity and company working to improve the lives of disabled people through digital technology.
AbilityNet is an excellent resource for you and your carer to get the best from the internet, with the website offering advice and information.
It also offers free services for disabled people, including:
- free factsheets offering tips and advice for setting up your computer
- the free My Computer My Way online tool to set up your computer
- free IT support at home with Ability Net’s IT Can Help network
You can also download the free Staying Safe on Social Media and Online publication from the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities website.
Advice for young internet users
The internet is a great place for keeping in touch with friends, sharing selfies, looking for the latest celebrity gossip and catching up on your favourite programs.
However, it can also be a dangerous place. To stay safe on the internet you should:
- REPORT anything or anyone that makes you feel uncomfortable
- NOT post any personal information such as your home address, email address or mobile number
- STOP and THINK before you post anything, particularly pictures or videos. Are you sure you want the whole world to be able to see it and use it themselves?
- NEVER tell anyone your passwords or account information
- ONLY ‘friend’ people you really know
- NOT meet up with anyone you have only met online. If someone asks you to meet them, you should check with your parent, carer, teacher or an adult that you trust
- RESPECT others, even if you do not agree with them
Other help to stay safe online is available from:
- Thinkuknow website which has been designed to provide advice, help and support for internet users from 5 years old to teacher
- Safety Net Kids website which provides a lot of advice for young people of all ages
- Childline provides advice on how to cope and what to do about Cyberbullying
Computer and internet advice for parents and carers
The internet is ideal for young people and many vulnerable people. It means that information is just a click away, making it a great place to go to help with homework, shop for a bargain and find opening hours easily.
It is also perfect for young people to stay in touch with friends instantly through blogs and social networks and challenge the world to online gaming tournaments.
However, it can also be a bad place to be, with some people acting like predators and looking for vulnerable people.
There is a lot of very good advice and guidance to help you keep your children safe though. For example, excellent help is available from well known websites and organisations, such as: