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Up and Coming Online Trends: How to Stay Safe

Online security

With the internet advancing at such a fast pace, trends seem to come and go with the breeze. A new website might be offering an unheard-of online service or product one day, and then be more or less forgotten within the month; a budding trend may lie dormant for years only to explode in popularity over the course of a week. And with all this going on, it's become more important than ever to be vigilant regarding your own safety and security. To that end, we're using this piece to point to a few major emerging trends in mobile app and internet use, just to make sure they won't catch anyone off guard. Investment Apps Apps that allow you to quickly and easily invest in companies and alternative finances have been on the rise these last few years. For the most part these apps offer invaluable services, simplifying processes that were once prohibitively complex, and often operating with no fees. But that doesn’t mean it's a good idea to start using these apps on a whim, or to approach them haphazardly. Some are more reliable than others, and it's always important to read the fine print and ensure you aren't doing anything with your money you'll later regret. The app Robinhood strikes a nice balance when it comes to apps like these. It lets you invest freely from your mobile phone or tablet on the go, gives you updates on your investments regularly, and also provides advice regarding your specific portfolio and potential areas of interest. This is not to say Robinhood is necessarily the best or the one you should use, but it is a decent model to follow as you sift through what's becoming a very crowded category. A reputable, popularly-used app like this, with clear features and functionality, can help you to get in on this trend in a responsible manner. Online Gambling Online gambling is nothing new, but it's been on a roll lately as well. With sites getting more tech-savvy, apps making bets more accessible, and New Jersey's new sportsbooks opening up the U.S. market, it's fair to say this entire practice is getting trendy all over again. And for the most part, it can be a great way to pass the time, enhance your existing enjoyment of sports and other public events, and potentially pick up some spare cash. Here too, though, it's important to be careful as the trend continues. The most important thing when engaging in online gambling is to make sure you're dealing with a licensed and regulated site or app. There are plenty of trusted, mainstream options, but there are also various smaller or less-established companies that can be less reliable when handling your money. In addition to picking the right site, you also want to make sure you're gambling responsibly. Betting for fun, with the hope of getting lucky, is a perfectly reasonable hobby; betting because you need to, or because you expect to make money, can quickly become problematic. Messaging Clients It seems that every year, new messaging clients become hits, growing into industry leaders and outstripping competition despite relatively familiar methodology and functionality. We’ve seen it happen with Slack, Skype, Discord, and going even further back, AIM and Stride. So, while the idea of new messaging systems isn't a trend in and of itself, the next specific service you build a profile for probably will be. As always with these types of online messaging clients, be wary of any unknown friend or contact requests from people you don’t know. Avoid links that look suspicious or that come from unknown services. And, beyond these basics, keep an eye out for more specific modern concerns, such as uninvited bot activity (which can lead to some pretty serious stuff) or deceitful subscription models. Most messaging clients are fairly harmless, and can be very convenient - but that doesn't mean they can't land you in a tricky spot now and then if you let your guard down. These are just three of the many, trends occurring on the internet of late. But hopefully considering how to handle them safely can renew your interest in digital vigilance and help you to continue to navigate the ever-evolving web as safely as possible.