Making Smart Choices on the Internet


By: Michelle Arcos

The internet is a huge resource and form of entertainment in our modern day and age.  ModernLatina is an online community, so we thrive on the internet and its ability to share and outreach to readers around the world.  However, we can get lost on this ever-changing, fast paced electronic world.  Here are a few tips on making smart choices when online shopping, social networking and using email.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Online Shopping:

Let’s face it, online shopping is one of the simplest ways to shop and it is easy to keep on doing it.  However, there are a few precautions you should take before you click “checkout.”

  • Always read a website’s privacy policy before giving any personal information.  Make sure that a website offers a secure connection before giving credit card information.  “Identity theft” sometimes occurs when someone gets your credit card or bank account information via the internet.  This is an ever-growing problem, so you should carefully look for the picture of a closed lock in your browser window, which indicates that the security is connection is active, and you can ensure a safe checkout.

Social Networking:

Social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter have become extremely popular in recent years, for people of all ages. These sites are a great way to keep family and friends updated on your life and stay updated on theirs.

  • If someone is harassing you, remove them from your friends list, block them, and report them to a site administrator.  This can be considered a form of cyber bulling, which can lead to social, emotional and physical harm to the victim.
  • Post only information that you are comfortable with others seeing, and knowing about you.  Use your personal profile to keep your real friends (the ones you know trust) more synched up with your daily life.  Remember that once you post information online, it can remain on there. Even if you delete the information from a site, older versions exist on other people’s computers.


Email is another form of communication and it is huge in the business world, as well as maintaining personal relationships and records.  There are a few steps you should consider before opening, sending or setting up an account and message.

  • Don’t download any attachments from people you don’t know.  Scan attachments with a virus program before downloading them, even if they come from a friend. A virus can be very harmful to your computer and cause you to lose files and they can steal personal information.
  • Beware of links inside emails from banks, credit card companies or any financial institutions if they are located in your spam folder. I have recently been receiving a lot of spam emails from Bank of America asking me to click a link that will verify my account and computer. I know that it is really easy to click on the link embedded in the email that supposedly takes you directly to the website.  In this instance the link takes you to a fraud website designed to steal our username and password.

Remember the internet can be a fun place to shop, browse, and overall connect with the world, but you must be smart about the things you click, share and search.  These tips can help remind you what is right and wrong things to do on the internet.

Michelle Arcos is a senior majoring in Human Communications at CSUMB, from French Camp, CA. She currently works at CSUMB for an outreach program called Educational Talent Search, and her job entails serving as a college advisor for students at Seaside High. She loves to travel, attend concerts and cultural festivals. She plans to spend the summer traveling to several cities in the U.S.