Keeping your digital self safe as pandemic prompts more time online

Ohio County

(WTRF) – Like it or not, we’re spending more time starring at screens. 

With working from home and remote learning, it’s an inevitable side effect of the pandemic. 

Just being online doesn’t make you the target of scammers or hackers, it’s what you do while you’re logged on.

Regardless of the equipment, or the software, or the security settings, the single most important part of actual security is an aware and educated user.

Joe Rodella, Director of Information Services, West Liberty University

For adults, and even college students who are becoming more technologically independent, e-mail is where scammers will try to get your information.

So, don’t fall for the fake links or the spoofed addresses. Know who you’re talking to.

One good thing to do is you can hover with your mouse over the e-mail address and it will tell you if that’s actually the e-mail address you’re responding to.

Joe Rodella, Director of Information Services, West Liberty University

Another warning for adults, or those who use online banking, don’t check your bank account in public places. It’s a simple way for hackers to get your personal information.

Internet games can be a fun and educational place to entertain kids, as long as parents keep an eye on the online activity.

There’s a lot of bad people behind the glass and kids just aren’t gonna understand that. 

Joe Rodella, Director of Information Services, West Liberty University

The best thing to do is to talk to your kids. Make sure they know to stick to the game and avoid any chat rooms. That’s where hackers hide. 

These people are smart. First of all, they’re very good at understanding who’s vulnerable and they’ll start to develop a relationship over time. That’s when it gets a little dangerous and once kids get comfortable and start sharing they don’t really think there’s a danger because they’ve got that screen and they’re behind it. Well, it’s not much of a protection. 

Joe Rodella, Director of Information Services, West Liberty University

Once your kids venture into social media, help them understand a person’s profile isn’t always what it seems. 

You tell me you have 3,000 friends. I don’t think so. I think you have 10 and 2,800 people who know your name or got connected to you.

Joe Rodella, Director of Information Services, West Liberty University

How much time online and at what age is ultimately up to you, but experts recommend supervision and helping children understand the dangers is key. 

No more than you would throw the six-year-old the keys to the car, you probably shouldn’t just give them the keys to the computer either.

Joe Rodella, Director of Information Services, West Liberty University

What about online learning? Is it safe?

Rodella says yes. He explained students in Kindergarten through 12th grades can only e-mail with other students or teachers on the same domain.

As for the curriculum itself, it’s distributed through a learning management system.

Essentially you go to a website, you click on the teacher and the classes are there, or you log in and your classes are there and you can click on your class and you can go download your homework or see the lesson or watch the lesson or whatever might be there, but you’re going to a specific space that’s secure and you’re not being transmitted by e-mail that way.

Joe Rodella, Director of Information Services, West Liberty University

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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