Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Gabriel from Los angeles, CA. Gabriel Wonders, “How do you be internet safe?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Gabriel!
Where would you go if you needed to find out the capital of Lithuania? If you have a burning desire to see some funny cat videos, where would you look? Perhaps you need to purchase a used copy of your uncle's favorite Hank Williams record album that you accidentally broke. Where would you go? The Internet, of course!
Yes, the Internet is good for all of these things and so many millions more. In today's connected world, it's nearly impossible to imagine once again living in a world without the Internet. Where would you learn obscure facts? Where would you share pictures of yourself with friends? Where would you buy things?
Of course, there are still libraries where you can learn information, photo-printing kiosks where you can order pictures, and stores in which to shop, but the Internet has made the way we live our lives so much faster and more automated than it was in the past. WONDERing whether to wear a jacket today? No, you don't have to watch the news and wait for the weather forecast to come on. You can just jump online and check the forecast in a matter of seconds.
Along with the good comes the bad, though. If you've never thought of the Internet as a potentially-dangerous place, you need to be aware that, just like in the real world, there are some people willing to use the Internet to do you harm. Whether it's stealing your personal information or harassing and threatening you (what's known as cyberbullying), these people use all sorts of tricks to turn the Internet into a scary place. Therefore, it's important to learn how to stay safe when you're online.
Since people can easily remain anonymous online, it's not difficult for bad people to hide behind fake identities. Never give up your personal information online, and stick to websites that you can trust.
For example, you should never give out the following types of information online: your full name, your address, your phone number, your birth date, your Social Security number, your credit card number, or your password. Of course, you will have to provide these things when you order merchandise online, but be sure you're dealing with a reputable online merchant first. If you have doubts, confirm with an adult friend or family member before revealing any of this information.
Choose email addresses, screen names, and passwords carefully. Make sure they don't unintentionally reveal personal information about you. For example, don't use your real name as your screen name! Passwords should also be nearly impossible to guess.
Also, don't cyberbully others. Don't do or say things online that you wouldn't do or say in person. Don't hide behind an anonymous profile to post harassing or threatening comments to or about others. Treat others the way you want to be treated — both in the real world and online.
Finally, remember that the Internet is a vast place, but it has a way of spreading things around very quickly. A good rule of thumb is to assume that anything you might type or post will be seen by everyone and remembered forever. If you wouldn't want a friend or parent seeing something, it's probably something you shouldn't type or post to begin with!