The internet is a great way to play games, watch videos, download music and most importantly allows us to communicate with anyone else in the world. From playing World of Warcraft and watching funny clips on YouTube to booking a holiday and downloading the latest releases we can do it all online. We don't even need a computer to access the internet now with mobile devices and games consoles all having internet capabilities.
However the internet is also full of bad stuff trying to damage your computer and take away your personal stuff like online banking details. But with some common sense and some simple tips you can minimise the risk.
Myspace, Bebo, Facebook and Xanga, there are social networking sites for any type of interest for anyone in the world. They are great to keep in touch with friends, look at photos from your friends' nights out and to meet new people with similar interests.
Be careful what information you set as public, you should not put your phone number or address on your profile, even if it is private. And the gossip you had on your friend's Wall the other night could be potentially available for public viewing for ever! It pays to spend five minutes looking at your Privacy settings and to look at the Help system for details of who to contact if anything goes wrong.
Be careful of who you agree to accept as a friend, people are not always who they say they are online and if you accept a friend request their friends could potentially view your profile too.
Everyone has had the misfortune of having someone upload an embarrasing photo of you on a website but these photos can remain online forever, if you object to someone uploading a photo or video of you let them know, if they refuse, report them to the site.
Applying for a job or a place at uni? You can bet someone there will try to look for your profile on various social networking sites so they can see what kind of person you are, your photos and profile comments could hinder you. Even several years after they were posted. Would you want your parents, teachers or employers to see your profile?
But do enjoy yourself when using these sites! Keep your profile safe and having fun chatting to your mates, playing Farmville and taking advantage of all the new exciting extra features Social Networking sites now have.
Your computer is ever becoming your entertainment hub, you can listen to music, watch films and do your school work on it.
Make sure you look after it and keep your data safe and backed up, imagine how you would feel if all your homework, music or photos were suddenly wiped?
Today you can access the internet, update your Facebook status, stream full television shows, upload party photos online as the party unfolds and listen to your MP3s on a mobile phone. It is such a space saver having one small device that acts as a camera, a handheld games console, an MP3 player, a film player and a web browser.
Mobile phones and their contracts can be expensive, so you want to keep it safe. But you also need to take care of the data on your phone. If your phone is stolen a thief could not just run up a huge bill or use all your credit, they could view all your photos, make a copy of all your photos, access and even alter your Facebook from it. Chances are your phone will store your login details and password.
Whether you are using a networking site, or just chatting on a forum, the chances are you are putting personal information online. Once it's out there you may not be able to control what happens to it. This could pose a risk to your privacy or even your personal safety.
So before you create a profile, post a picture or tell the online world what you've been doing, think about how to make sure you're safe online.