ICanBeSafeOnline.com was created as Community Living BC’s online safety website.
This website served as an important tool to help people learn how to be safe online while still having fun with their friends and family, and connecting with their community.
The Internet is entertaining and can open a world of knowledge, but it can also lead to embarrassing or scary situations for yourself and others. It could even put your safety or your privacy at risk.
To help you stay safe online, you can find all of the ICanBeSafeOnline.com information, videos, tips and links to other online safety resources below:
Tip 1 - Protect your password
- Your password is the door to your private life.
- Keeping your password private means that only you hold the key to your social networking profiles for posting information, pictures and stories.
- Change your passwords often and use ones that people can’t guess. For example, don’t use your birthday, home address or phone number.
- Use a different password for all sites you use.
- If you need to write your passwords down, keep them in a safe place, but not by your computer where others may see them.
Tip 2 - Find a checker friend
- It’s all about being safe! Sometimes we need someone else to keep an eye on our posts to make sure we are being safe online.
- A checker friend may be someone you trust who uses the Internet and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
- A checker friend is someone you can go to if you feel like someone is causing you harm or sending you inappropriate emails or messages.
- A checker friend will make sure that you’re not chatting with someone who may cause you harm or makes either of you feel uncomfortable.
- Add your checker friend to your “friends list” so they can help you make sure you are not giving away too much information.
Tip 3 - Double-check your privacy settings
- Facebook privacy settings are important but it’s not the only website with privacy settings. Other sites like Skype, YouTube and Twitter have privacy settings that you should double check, too.
- Set a reminder for yourself to double check your privacy settings to make sure they are as high as you think they are. Maybe every three months or every season.
Tip 4 - Don’t let the Internet control you
- The Internet is just one part of your life. Don’t let it take up all of your social time.
- It’s important to spend time with family and friends – if you don’t see them, you may lose them!
- Set time limits on how much time you will spend each day on the Internet and keep to it.
- Ask your friends to respect your decision on how much time you spend on your sites.
Tip 5 - It’s OK to say no
- It’s good to “un-friend” or “un-follow” people if they make you feel uncomfortable.
- It’s okay to say “no” to any person who asks to be a friend on your site.
- Saying “no” makes sure you are in control of your online life.
- If you don’t know someone who sends you a friend request, then they are not a friend and you should say “no.”
Tip 6 - Don’t click too quick
- Take a moment to make sure the link you are about to click on seems right to you.
- By simply clicking on a link , you may accidentally give people personal information that you really do not want them to know.
- You may also open a site that scares you or offends you.
- People may think that by opening a link, you like the same things they do and that they may invite you into an un-safe place.
- Don’t click on links or images from people you don’t know.
- Don’t trust that pop-up window! It may put a virus on your computer or a friends computer.
Tip 7 - Think before you send or post
- Before you hit the “Share” button read your post again. Is the information you’re posting something you want to share with everyone?
- Keep private information, private. Once you have posted personal information or pictures on your sites, there is still a record of what you have posted — even if you remove or delete that post, or your entire account.
- Make sure that you are not posting other people’s private information. If they don’t like it, they may do it to you.
- Don’t put a picture of yourself online that you wouldn’t want to show to your mom, dad, teacher or boss.
Tip 8 - Protect things that are private
- Don’t post your home or work address, your banking information, social insurance number or your phone numbers.
- Discuss with your friends the information you want to keep private. Even a trusted friend may accidently share your private information without thinking.
- Don’t share information about yourself that another person may use against you or that could put you in harm’s way.
- Important medical information and your physical health are private – these are not good things to share online.
For families and service providers
The Internet is a great way to stay connected with family, friends and communities.
Being online has become a part of our daily lives, and has made it easier to connect with others, especially family members and friends who may live far away.
Support staff or other professionals have also found the Internet to be a great tool to stay connected with the people they support when they’re not able to see them face-to-face.
Just as you would protect the ones you care for and support in the real world, it is important to make sure that they are safe when participating in the online world. Both worlds can make people with developmental disabilities vulnerable. CLBC’s goal in creating this website is to educate, empower, and equip self-advocates, families and service providers with basic online safety information to help keep everyone safe online.
An introduction to the online world
It’s important to understand what kind of risks exist online. There are a number of things you can do to help someone with a developmental disability remain safe.
If you’re not familiar with the Internet, read on to learn about some common tools that people are using online. Learning more about these tools can help you feel empowered to make sure the people you care about are using them safely…
Social networking websites function like an online community of Internet users. Depending on the website in question, many of these online community members share common interests such as their hobbies, favourite actors or TV shows. Once you are granted access to a social networking website you can begin to socialize. This socialization may include reading the profile pages of other members and possibly even making contact with them. Some examples of social networking sites are: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Facebook is a social networking service and website launched in February 2004, and has more than 600 million active users. Users may create a personal profile page that tells others about them, add other users as friends, and exchange messages. Facebook users must register before using the site. Additionally, users may join common-interest user groups, organized by workplace, school, college, or other characteristics.
Twitter is a social networking and messaging (microblogging) service that encourages users to answer the question, “What are you doing?”. Users send one another short “text message” that are no more than 140 characters in length, called “tweets.” These tweets are directed at their friends, or “followers.” Twitter is estimated to have 200 million users, generating 65 million tweets a day and handling over 800,000 search queries per day.
A blog is a frequently updated online personal journal or diary. It’s usually a place for an average person to express thoughts and passions to the world. But really, a blog can be anything you want it to be.
Text messaging refers to short messages typed into cell phones as a substitute for voice calls. Texting includes messages that contain images, video, and sound content. The sender of a text message is known as a “texter.”
YouTube is a video-sharing website on which users can upload, share, and view videos. This site contains content that is not policed or moderated.
How to support online safety
The Internet can be a great way to connect with friends and family and learn about interesting things going on in the community.
There is no doubt that the Internet can be unsafe if we do not put good safety measures in place. There are steps you can take to help make sure that the people you care about are using the Internet safely. For example:
- Talk with your loved one about what they do online.
- Keep lines of communication open — tell them that they can always talk to you or another trusted adult, if they do end up in some sort of trouble on the Internet.
- Spend some time surfing the Internet yourself. The more you know about the Internet, the more able you’ll be to help your family member, or the person you support, navigate online without coming to harm.
- If a loved one tells you about someone or something bad or “not right” they’ve encountered, work with them to help avoid problems in the future. Report anything to the police that you think is not safe or looks suspicious.
- Make “surfing the net” something you experience together. Use it to pick out a movie or check out community activities.
- Help your loved one understand that talking to someone they do not know on the Internet is no different than talking to a stranger on the street. Explain the dangers that could happen if they give out to much information about themselves.
- Show the person you care for this website and learn about online safety together.
Where to get help
Contact your local police department immediately by dialing 911 if you know of an incident where the individual in your care has been sexually solicited or has received sexually explicit images.
Or if he or she has been asked to buy drugs, or steal, or give away personal financial information such as bank account details and credit card numbers.
You can also report incidents to Cybertip.ca, an gateway for all reports on Internet safety.
Additionally, sites such as Facebook and YouTube have reporting tools on their sites. This allows you to immediately report to the site something that violates their guidelines.
Tips from the RCMP
Read these tips from the RCMP and be safe online:
- Separate your social networking logins, passwords and perhaps even emails from your financial information credentials.
- Ensure your computer is updated with security patches, antivirus software, spyware detection updates and more.
- Be aware of what you’re doing online. Don’t click on links or images from people you don’t know, not just in your email, but also in messages on your social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
- It’s not just about infecting your accounts and computers, but if you are infected, you also potentially infect your friends and social network connections as well.
- Apple users are not immune to vulnerabilities related to online scams, malware and identity theft scams.
- Companies need to strongly review and consider policies for allowing open social networking because of fraud and piracy issues.
- Make your users aware of malware and privacy issues if you are going to allow employee use.
- If an offer appears too good to be true, it might be. Any advertising or promotional offer that asks you for email addresses, credit card information and the like should be considered very carefully.
“People need to be very cautious when they are communicating online. People will often misrepresent themselves and pose as someone else in order to befriend others for personal gain or illegal activities. Online predators are smart and engaging.
It’s important to remember that just because someone says they’re your friend online doesn’t mean that they are. Your real friends are the friends that you’ve known for a long time and have come to trust, not someone that you’ve just met online.”
– Cpl. Sherrdean Turley, RCMP
There are lots of sites online that may be useful to help you learn more about online safety.