Using the Network & Internet Safely

People who live in the big city are sometimes said to be "street smart." They know how to live safely in an environment with great resources, but also some dangers that must be avoided. People who use the internet need to develop a similar understanding of how to safely enjoy its many resources while avoiding its dangers. Often the same common sense rules we use in every day life apply to the internet, too. This page is intended to help new and not-so-new internet users become "Net-Smart."

Hints for Safe Computing and Network Usage

  • Keep your password confidential. Never tell anyone your password. If a password becomes known to others, have it changed immediately by contacting the Director of Technology! Beware of anyone asking for your password. The IT {Information Technology} staff will never ask any user to tell their password!
  • When initially setting up your computer account or changing your password, choose a password that is not easily guessed and not a word in the dictionary. Try using a phrase or an alphanumeric combination.
  • Log off whenever you leave your workstation. Choose Exit or Quit to log out of all active applications, do not just close the windows. After using Internet always completely quit your web browser. These rules are especially important when using a public computer or a computer in a lab or group learning facility.
  • Never send your credit card number in response to an unsolicited e-mail message. Beware of messages that suggest you have won a prize and must supply information to collect it.
  • Watch out for internet hoaxes. These can consist of chain letters disguises as charity fund raisers, pyramid schemes designed as legitimate employment opportunities and false virus warnings. To verify a possible hoax, check out the Department of Energy's Computer Incident Advisory Capability web site.
  • Lock offices and rooms when unoccupied. Lock down your workstation and keep it physically secure.
  • Install virus protection software to keep your files clean and never accept software from strangers.
  • Exercise caution when using downloaded software from the internet.
  • Back up files regularly and often (after being sure that they're virus free). Learn how to recover your files from your backup program.
  • Store labeled backup disks or tapes in a safe, fireproof, and separate area.
  • Never use illegal software, that is, software for which you do not have a license.
  • Use power surge equipment and unplug all computer equipment if a storm is predicted which could cause power loss or power surge.
  • Maintain the privacy of all information given to you in confidence by others or by St. John's.
  • Pick up pages you send to a remote printer quickly.

 

Hints for Safe Computing and Network Usage

  • Keep Your Identity Private. If you are in any type of public forum, avoid giving out your full name, mailing address, telephone number, the name of your school or any other information that could help someone determine your actual identity.
  • Never Get Together With Someone You "MEET" Online. Remember, you never know if people you meet online are who they say they are. If you feel it is appropriate to meet with someone, discuss it with your parents or teachers and never got to the meeting by yourself.
  • Never Respond to e-mail, Chat Comments or Newsgroups Messages That Are Hostile, Belligerent, Inappropriate or In Any Way Make You Feel Uncomfortable. It isn't your fault if you get a message that is mean or make you feel uncomfortable in any way. If you get such a message, don't respond. Instead, show it to your parents, teachers or a trusted adult to see if there is anything you can do to make it stop. Sending a response just encourages a person.
  • Talk With Your Parents or Teachers About Their Expectations and Ground Rules For Going Online. Communicating with a parent or teacher doesn't mean that you have to give up your privacy. It just means that you come to an agreement based on mutual trust and understanding. And, help your parents and teachers better understand the Internet, what it can be used for and how it is helpful to teens.
  • When You Are Online, You Are In Public. It Is Not A Game; it is the real world and there are steps that you can take to protect your privacy and minimize the risks.
  • Do NOT Give Out Your Password to anyone except your parents or teachers.
  • Check With Your Parents or Teachers before entering any contest or providing any information to any web site.
  • Only Give Out Information that you believe is really needed. And ber careful: data is often gathered automatically without your knowledge or permission.
  • Unlist Your Name From Any Directory Guest Book you don't want it in.
  • Avoid Filling Out Profile Information With Internet Service Providers. It is possible for adults to access tht information and use it to target you, seeking legitimate access and trying to win your confidence.