Keeping safe online for #SaferInternetDay

We’ve been really pleased to see the huge reaction on Twitter to #SaferInternetDay 2019. In its 16th year, it’s all about working together for a better internet with advice and tools for keeping us safe online.

Here we’ve rounded up some of the best advice and tools from the day in to a handy list.

Twelve ways to spot a bot

A bot is simply an account run by a piece of software. Bots can be used to make a hashtag trend, but also to harass other users. Bots may be talking to you so they can send you private messages with spam or phishing attempts. While not always malicious, bots can be hard to spot. This post from Medium contains 12 top tips on how to avoid fake social media accounts.

Botometer bot checker

Botometer (formerly BotOrNot) checks the activity of a Twitter account and gives it a score based on how likely the account is to be a bot. The higher the score, the more likely the profile is a bot. The tool can also predict how many followers of a profile has are likely to be bots so you can make a more informed decision on whether the people you are talking to are real.

How to set up 2 factor authentication 

Cyber attacks are becoming commonplace but there are simple steps you can take to keep your personal information more safe. We recommend using two factor authentication (2FA) wherever possible, and ensuring your children are too. A simple example of 2FA is sending a one-time security code by text to a phone number associated with the account as an extra step of security before you can log in. Two Factor Auth (2FA) has a list of common websites with guidance on setting up 2FA.

How to turn on parental controls

The NSPCC has lots of great guidance on staying safe online. This article explains how to turn on parental controls on phones, computers, gaming consoles and more. Parental controls are there to help stop children and teens from viewing adult material or downloading inappropriate content (such as apps they are too young for). You can even set what time of day your child can go online and how long for.

Making your social media accounts as private as possible

When your social media accounts are locked-down people can’t see your pictures or posts without your permission. This is extra important for children and teens. Gizmodo has advice on how to put your social accounts in to private mode, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Guidance from popular social media channels

Reporting abuse on Facebook

Instagram’s advice for parents

Twitter’s safety and security advice

Snapchat’s guidance for parents

Whatsapp safety tips

YouTube safety tools

More social media safety guides from UK Safer Internet Centre.

Publishing readable blog posts

Accessibility is becoming hugely important on the internet (as it should be!) and attention spans are shrinking. So being able to write easy-to-read content is essential. This post isn’t about what you should write but instead has easy-to-follow tips on publishing a blog that everyone can read.

Magnifying glass on computer

1. Use headings

Readers have extremely short attention spans so keeping your content in easy to digest chunks is key. Headings are also important for accessibility as screen reader users are able to navigate web pages by heading structure.

When you use headings, they need to be in the correct order on the page. The most important heading has <h1>, the least important heading goes down to <h6>. You should not skip header rankings (so <h1> should always be followed by <h2> and so on).

<h1>Main page heading</h1>

<h2>Sub heading </h2>

<h3>Sub-sub heading</h3>

A common mistake is using styles (e.g bold) to create fake headings, instead of using heading styles in content so screen readers are able to read content in the correct order and users can jump between sections easily.

2. Use plain English

Unless your writing a technical blog for a specific audience, keep your content simple. If a phrase or word has a simpler alternative, use it! There’s a great free content tool called Hemingway that highlights how you can improve your content.

3. Keep paragraphs short

Blog posts should be easy to skim read and shouldn’t be structured like a book. Keep your paragraphs short and break up content with headings. The Government Digital Service (GDS) recommends sentences remain under 25 words.

4. Use meaningful link text

For readability and accessibility, you must ensure links can be easily understood out of context. For example, reading a ‘click here’ or ‘read more’ link out of context will mean nothing to the user. Ensure link text isn’t ambiguous by describing where the link takes you; e.g: ‘Bob’s study on the advantages of having an office dog’.

Ask yourself: ‘does this link text make sense on its own?’

5. Round it up

When you’ve finished your blog, ensure you have a conclusion. You could add a quick round up of what you’ve learned, some useful links to external resources or related content or even a call to action such as a contact form.

And in taking my own advice, here are some useful links with more advice on writing for the web and accessibility if you’d like to learn more.

Did you know we offer in-person writing for the web training? Get in touch for more details.