Public urged to Tech No Chances on National Personal Safety Day 2012
Police in North Yorkshire are supporting National Personal Safety Day 2012 by circulating advice from the Suzy Lamplugh Trust's Tech No Chances campaign which offers everybody valuable advice on how to ensure that their technology works to improve their safety not put them at greater risk.
To support the campaign, get involved and receive and share the advice by following the Suzy Lamplugh Trust @live_life_safe or North Yorkshire Police @NYorksPolice on Twittter and retweet to your followers or search for #TechNoChances.
Technology is a wonderful thing that few of us could see ourselves doing without, and when it comes to personal safety, it can be of great benefit. However there can be risks associated with some technology so it pays to take a few simple precautions to ensure that yours works for you, not against you.
North Yorkshire Police is circulating the following advice produced by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust:
Why wearing earphones can put you in danger
- It's tempting to listen to music when walking down the street alone but try to avoid wearing earphones in this situation, as this will distract you from your surroundings and you may not see or hear trouble approaching.
- The sooner you are aware of potential danger the easier it is to avoid it, so it's important to stay alert and keep an eye (and ear!) on what's happening around you.
Why your mobile phone can either improve your safety or increase the risks
A mobile phone can increase a person's safety, but it can also put you at risk. For example, if you are uneasy about a situation you could discretely text a friend for help. Or you could call a friend/family member if you have missed the last bus home and arrange to get picked up, rather than walking home alone. On the other hand, getting out an expensive mobile phone at a secluded bus stop may make you a target for thieves.
By following a few simple tips, you can avoid using your mobile phone in the wrong place at the wrong time
- Many people chat on their mobile phone when walking down the street alone because it makes them feel safer. However this can actually put you at greater risk because, as with the earphones, you are more likely to be distracted from your surroundings and fail to notice any potential danger until it is too late to avoid it.
- Beware of phone apps that let others track your location. This information could be used by the wrong person and be used inappropriately.
- Consider using a Pin Code for accessing your phone. This would stop a thief having access to the phone and any personal information saved on it.
- If you don't use a Pin Code, avoid keeping personal information on your phone and make sure you log out of your social networks when not using it, as a thief could then access your accounts.
- If your phone is stolen, report it immediately and get it shut down.
How information you post online can put you at risk?
For many of us it's hard to imagine life without the internet but we need to be careful that familiarity doesn't breed contempt. It can be an amazing communication and information sharing tool but there can be risks involved if you drop your guard too much. By taking some simple precautions, you can minimise the risks to you and your family.
- Don't give out personal details, such as your name, address or phone number (even your mobile number) on the internet. Check your privacy settings - are you sure only people you trust can see personal details about you?
- Don't give out your password, even to people you know and trust. (Ex-partners/friends have been known to access people's accounts, causing them problems and distress.)
- If you share a computer, say "no" if the computer offers to 'remember your password' to you social network accounts. If you say "yes", you would be giving anyone who has access to the computer, access to your accounts also.
- Avoid announcing that you are home alone or that you will be away on holiday on certain dates - therefore letting people know when the house will be empty.
- Be aware of who has access to your social network accounts and what they can see. Bear this in mind when adding information, such as current location.
- Don't add people you don't know as friends to your social networks, as they - and their friends - will then have access to too much information about you.
- Be careful that you don't fall into the trap of thinking you know people who you 'meet' online. You don't. You only know what they have chosen to tell you. So never agree to meet someone you have only 'met' online (including anyone introduced to you on a dating site) unless you have a friend or family member with you or you meet in a busy public place.
For further personal safety information, visit www.suzylamplugh.org/tips