• Last year, a young Kenyan lady met a charming man who according to his online profile was touring Kenya. The naïve 19-year-old girl and the man had a connection and soon the young lady was travelling from Kampala- where she was studying- to the Kenyan coast to meet her new lover.

    The traumatizing experience she went through in the hands of her ‘lover’ left her feeling unworthy. Nothing made sense to her. Her tormented emotions and physical assault were irreparable. Without anyone to speak to, she turned to suicide.

    The importance of practicing internet safety cannot be underestimated and people should never at one given time bend these safety precautions because the consequences can be grave.

    Just like any other February since 2005, Safer Internet Day, is celebrated to remind people the importance of practicing safe internet usage. The Day also is used to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially among children and young people across the world.

    This year, the Safer Internet Day (SID) was marked on Tuesday February 9, 2016 with a theme, 'Play your part for a better internet!'.

    The day was first started as an initiative of the EU SafeBorders project in 2004 and was eventually taken up by the Insafe network as one of its earliest actions in 2005. Since then, SID has grown beyond its traditional geographical zone and is now marked in more than 100 countries worldwide.

    The theme of this year’s day lays emphasis on each individuals’ role in ensuring that internet safety is practiced by all.

    But even without this day, every day should be safer internet day because neglecting any one of the internet rules can cause a lot of harm to an individual.

    Here are some general tips that Microsoft prepared to mark Safer Internet Day. These tips should help you experience safe internet usage today and in days to come.

    Defend your computer, tablet and phone

    Having your gadgets up to date is one sure way to keep malicious attacks at bay. Keep all software current with automatic updating. But even with this, ensure that you are not coined into downloading malicious software.

    Be cautious with the links and attachments sent to you even by a sender you know. Be on the lookout for these attachments and links on social media networks and emails.

    Protect personal information

    This should always be at the top of the list. Never ever give sensitive information (account number, or password) or call a number in response to an email you are suspicious of.

    If you find deals that are too good to be true, the latter is always correct.

    Exercise caution when updating your locations and what you are doing. Online predators can use such information to harm you.

    Create strong passwords and keep them secret

    Make long and strong passwords for your online accounts. Use phrases or sentences that contain symbols, numbers and cases.

    Many people tend to use one password for many accounts. That is wrong. Use different passwords for different accounts and websites especially those that involve financial information.

    Take charge of your online reputation

    How often do you search yourself online? It is important you do. Discover what information about you is out there and try as much as possible to sieve what you put out. More importantly, ensure that your reputation is positive and cannot be used to maliciously harm you online or otherwise.

    Take extra steps to keep kids safe online

    If you have kids or siblings, be on the lookout on what they do online. Guide them on how to safely use the internet for their own good. Counsel them on what sites to visit and games to play online.

    Looking at the history of the sites the kids visit could be helpful. It might be labelled as snooping, but it is better than losing your kid to the online predators.

    In case of suspicious emails, messages or calls, be quick to report these to the concerned companies. Many online service providers have incorporated a system to track down scams and by reporting such issues, you help them track the wrongdoers for your good and the good of the rest of the people.