Internet Safety Tips for Teens and College Students

College students access the internet for work and pleasure. They use the World Wide Web to Zoom into virtual classroom meetings, research essays and homework assignments, connect with friends on social media, purchase groceries and make funny reels on TikTok. The sheer amount of data and time college students spend online opens them to several cybersecurity threats. The risk is more pronounced for young students, who are more vulnerable and prone to online scams than other age groups. It's a dangerous world out there. The best way to stay protected is by prevention. Use these tips to keep yourself digitally safe while in college.

Tip #1: Be Aware Of Scams

There are tons of scams targeting students. For example, if you have signed up on a dating app, you may connect with a catfish scammer rather than your true love. So, stay extra vigilant and do not agree to meet some random stranger on the internet. If you plan to date an internet friend, choose a public space like your local coffee shop. Similarly, some scammers target vulnerable students asking for, “Can I pay someone to take my online class?” These scammers pose as online class takers, cheating you of your money. So, make sure to read online class expert reviews before you choose a homework helper. Reading reviews gives you an idea of the efficiency of the homework helper and helps you weed out scammers posing as class helpers.

Tip #2: Use Privacy Settings

Sometimes you might post more than you intend on social media platforms and could be subjected to cyberbullying and trolling. Fortunately, you can reverse these situations by using privacy settings. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok have privacy settings that allow you to share only with your close friends.

Tip #3: Don’t Share Any Personal Information On Public Computers

As a university student, you might sometimes have to use a public computer. Whether using a system at your university library or elsewhere, you must take several steps to protect your data.
  • Assume that the anti-virus protection on all public computers is out-of-date. So, do not share any personal information.
  • Avoid carrying out personal transactions on public computers. Do not log into your banking accounts, social media accounts, etc. Use public computers only to surf general information.

Tip #4: Enable The “Find My Phone App”

Most recent smartphones have a “find my device” app that allows you to track the phone if it gets lost. The app allows you to remotely lock the phone and erase all information if you have lost the phone elsewhere. You will be alerted to a tone that lets you know where the device is.

Tip #5: Use Strong Passwords

Use Strong Passwords

This might seem basic, but it's the first step to securing your accounts online. Use strong passwords with a minimum of 12 characters, including uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid using the same passwords for all accounts. You can use a trusted password generator app to create strong passwords for each application. These apps also store your passwords securely, so you don't have to remember them.

Tip #6: Use Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication requires an extra step other than a password to log into your account. Usually, you’ll receive an OTP (one-time pin) on your phone via text message. Two-factor authentication ensures that even if a hacker gains access to your password, they won’t be able to log into your account as they won’t have the PIN.

Tip #7: Keep Track Of Your Accounts

Keep an eye on any suspicious activity in your account. If you notice any strange unauthorized activity on your bank account, or if you're getting any notifications that you shouldn't be getting, it can indicate that a hacker is trying to access your password. Report these activities to your bank proactively so they can take the proper steps to secure your account.