By Sandra Quinn

Today (February 5) is Safer Internet Day and in an age where we use the internet for the most mundane of everyday activities, we thought we would take a look at how safe you are online and how much thought you give to what you put up online and who has access to that information.

Every single time you download an app, you most likely click that little button ‘Agree’ without much thought to what you are actually agreeing to.

For example, did you know that the most basic messaging app on your smart phone probably has permission (which you have given by clicking Agree) to turn on your location, access your contacts and messages, turn on your camera or microphone remotely and access your email account?

In a time when we hear about scams where personal information is stolen or compromised, it is well worth taking a few minutes to access the App Permissions section of your phone and taking a good proper look at what kind of permissions you have given to different apps and how necessary they are.

For instance, if it is a messaging app, then access to your contacts and media files (to share videos or pictures) is necessary to make the most out of the app, while it probably does not need access to your location or other unrelated features.

If you have children or teenagers in the house, there are some great resources to turn to in terms of safe internet use, protecting their privacy and giving them reliable and accessible information to call upon.

Here are a few worth looking at;

A general rule of thumb, which I use is that if you wouldn’t tell someone the information in person then don’t post it online, never share things like your location, when you are going on holidays or share passwords or usernames over unsecured networks.

Other top tips include having an open conversation with your child or teenager about what they do online, who they talk to and what kind of platforms they use. By talking openly about this, you are encouraging them to come to you if they encounter a problem.

Depending on the age or vulnerability of the user, it may also be an idea to agree to a shared password or mutual access to an account, so you can check in.

Another technique to monitor their usage would be to set a time limit on usage and also to make their private bedrooms screen-free zones.

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