The internet can help you to do many things! It allows you to send messages or speak with friends and family; watch videos or listen to music; find information on nearly any subject or help you if you want to learn a new skill.
However, it is really important to remember that anyone can use the internet around the world. This makes it an amazing place to be but you must be careful. This means that anyone can write anything or add pictures or videos, it means that sometimes bad things are on the internet. It also means they can sometimes contact you when you don’t want them to.
If you treat it like you would a real-life public place – for example the local market place -you can stay safe. Just like in a public space, you should:
- ‘Block’ or ignore people you don’t know or who are bothering you
- Keep your personal information private. For example, who you are, where you live or what your passwords are
- Tell someone you know and trust if you feel uncomfortable about anything you see or experience on the internet
- Be polite and respectful to people and do not bother them
All phones and apps are made with ‘settings’ which you can change to make sure that you are safe. Whether you are using WhatsApp, YouTube, Wikipedia, Facebook, KaiOS, Android or mobile money there are simple steps you can take. These include: blocking people that are harassing you, using a PIN to protect your phone or mobile money account or taking steps to stop seeing bad or dangerous content.
If you have children in your family who are using a phone, remember that they will need your help to stay safe. You can help them understand how to use the internet safely, including protect them when the use popular internet services. For example, you can report bad or content in Facebook or turn on ‘Parental Controls’ in the Google Play Store so that they only find suitable apps, games, videos or music.
If you have questions or are unsure about something it can be helpful to visit someone you trust. For example, your local mobile operator agent may be able to help you.
The internet is an amazing place but you do need to be careful. By taking a few simple steps you will be able to help keep you and your family safe!