There are no hard-and-fast internet safety rules for adults, but it’s always wise to be cautious. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! Here are a few tips we’ve found helpful:
- If you’re under 16, listen to what your parents/guardians say about internet use. It’s really not worth arguing with them over it and they are just looking out for you. Take their advice on board.
- Web safety’s not just for kids! Don’t think you’re invincible just because you may be old enough to look after yourself.
- Don’t give out any personal details unless you’re 100% sure you can trust the person receiving them – and never do so in a public forum. Stick to private messages, screened comments, emails… you know the type of thing.
- Think before you post! Remember that anything you send on the internet can be passed on to others. Even if you take a post down, someone may have downloaded, screencapped, or otherwise saved it.
- When buying stuff online remember to check you’re buying from a reputable source and on a secure page. The address should start with https:// instead of the more usual – but less secure – http://. There’s also usually a little lock symbol somewhere.
- Don’t click links you don’t trust. That’s anything you’re sent by a spambot, for one thing. When you’re sent a link by someone you don’t know, or don’t know well, it’s worth hovering your mouse over the link (try it) so that the address comes up in a little box. You can see that the link I just gave you simply refreshes this page. Of course, URL-shortening sites as used on Twitter, etc. do complicate matters – be very careful what you click.
- Remember there’s a person the other side of the internet. It sounds obvious, but it’s important to remember that while you may feel you’re just rambling your personal problems to yourself, there may be someone reading it if you’re venting on the internet. Don’t tell people intimate details unless you’d do the same face-to-face.
- Don’t meet for the first time alone. Take a friend, or friends, that you know and trust in real life, if you’re going to meet somebody you only know online – and try to meet in a public place. Big events are good for this sort of thing, as there’s a lot less pressure. Always make sure someone knows where you are – and when they can expect to hear from you. Better safe than sorry!
- Read tags, warnings, rules and age restrictions. Here there be monsters… but they’re usually clearly labelled. If you’re not going to feel comfortable seeing or reading something, tags are a great way to see and avoid it.
- If someone makes you uncomfortable, tell a friend. Better yet, tell a moderator of whatever site you happen to be on. Don’t be afraid to use block buttons if no moderator exists.
- Take care to reread before you post or send anything. Not only will this help you catch spelling and grammatical errors, but it also reduces the risk of things you say being misinterpreted.
- Don’t mention Finchel… or any other contentious ship (all the ships!) without being prepared for the likelihood that people will disagree with you. Don’t take it personally if they do – the internet’s a big place, and there’s room for many, many opinions on it. Similarly, try not to bash anyone else’s opinions – disagree by all means, but politely. Look at us, we’re even keeping your feels safe.
- Enjoy the internet! It’s a great place to be. “But you make it sound so dangerous!” I hear you cry. So is the beach. As long as we’re all careful, there’s no reason to be afraid of the internet.
Fandom Wanderers accepts no responsibility for anything you do on the internet. We love you guys, but we’re not your mothers.