My Security on the Internet: What Will I do to Change?

I got a laptop computer when I was a child, and I started using the internet when I was about 8 or 9 years old. It’s all been downhill from there! The internet is an unbelievable place where you can access new information, connect with friends and family, and buy things you need, or things you just really want! While it is a great place overall, there are hidden dangers lurking around, and these dangers probably want your personal information.

From the second I got my first debit card at 15, I started online shopping- there were so many things I wanted that I couldn’t find in real life, it was so easy! After telling my dad that I bought a few things off the internet, he told me something that always stuck with me in one way or another. I’m not phrasing this verbatim, but he said something along the lines of “That’s great honey, but make sure you’re being safe. You never know who’s sitting behind the screen on the other side.”

Now, I’ve never actually thought that there was an actual person sitting on the other side of the computer screen waiting for steal my information, I’m not that paranoid of a person. However, since he’s said that to me, I’ve always taken measures to make sure the sites I’ve been using have been safe. I glance at the URL to make sure there’s a lock there, meaning the website is secure. If the website looks sketchy or undone, I google the website and try to find reviews on it to make sure that other people have had good experiences. This article has some ways to make sure the website’s you’re using is safe, but those are just really the bare minimum.

After finishing the reading for this last module, I realized that there is more I could be doing to make safer choices on the internet. This article by the New York Times was one that stuck out to me, and while it had some things on there that I could not see myself doing (such as stop using google, for example), there were tips on there that were just simple changes, that would boost my security on the Internet.

I went and changed a lot of my passwords, as I had been using virtually the same few passwords for a lot of websites, and I have started writing them down in a book I have at home to keep track of them. I have also went to google and started to “jam” it as was suggested in the article, by putting a bunch of random search terms that I normally never search up, and I have already started to see weird ads on my social media feeds as compared to before. It’s scary how quickly that happens!

I am not one of those people who is scared of being tracked on the internet. If I’m using the internet, I’m expecting it to watch me and my movements- it’s just a fact that I’ve grown up knowing, and I don’t find the idea invasive or weird. The good part is, even if I do end up being weary of the whole idea, there are a few different ways that I can protect myself, and that idea comforts me!