It’s a scary cyber-world out there

There's a new place for opportunists and criminals to hide and thrive.

Did you observe Safer Internet Day earlier this week? Did you even know that Feb. 10 was Safer Internet Day?

It’s an international initiative from the European Union, mainly aimed at keeping children safe. But really, anyone can fall victim to criminals using the internet.

It’s enough to make one long for the days before Internet. Now I know how my parents felt about television. There were no televisions in their homes when they were growing up, just as there was no internet in my home.

If my parents wanted social activities after the chores were done, they went to the local dances or joined a church group – or went to the local pool hall, which was also considered “bad”.

My parents did everything they could to part us from the television – signed us up for after school activities, provided backyard activities for us like baseball and skating, and provided fun options that didn’t include television.

Didn’t stop me from spending a great deal of time there, but I also spent many hours outside playing, riding, exploring…

Now I work in front of a computer all day and spend half of my time at home at one. The Internet offers so much – information, social contact, entertainment… Much of which was never imagined when the Internet was created.

Unfortunately, criminals will always cash in on opportunities, and the Internet offers them the anonymity to fool people into trusting them. And placing all of our personal, medical and financial information into digital files leaves it vulnerable to the unscrupulous ones who know how to access it.

Be cautious with the Internet. Know the risks and be safe. www.saferinternet.org

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal

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