Ahead of International Safer Internet Day, 16-year-old Mau is teaching her peers to create safer online communities in a bid to stop child trafficking.
What is the first thing you do in the morning right after you wake up? I’ve asked a few friends this question. Some say they pray first, while a few others said they do their morning chores. But a huge majority of them admit that they immediately grab their phones to check their social media accounts for any updates.
Our profound connection to the online world is undeniable. We young people can’t seem to separate ourselves from our electronic devices for a single second. After all, we make up one-third of all internet users globally.
This bright space that is full of opportunities for learning and entertainment, is also full of potholes, risks, and real-life threats.
In this digital age, we can’t deny the incredible opportunities the internet offers. However, this bright space that is full of opportunities for learning and entertainment, is also full of potholes, risks, and real-life threats, unseen from afar. While there is a rapid expansion of communication technologies, we are also vulnerable to threats and dangers online.
Staying safe and protected while being connected is vital. Here are some basic internet etiquettes, or 'netiquettes' to help us to stay safe online.
1. Avoid Giving Out TMI (Too Much Information)
Cyber space is a great place to socialise and express ourselves. With just a single click, we can share and access every kind of information we can possibly think of.
Yes, we have the right to express ourselves online, however, we should also be aware of our limitations and responsibilities.
Think before you click.
It is important we are careful with the kind of content we share online. Whenever you’re about to post something, decide if your post is ‘safe to share’ or ‘risky to share’ because once you share something in the online world, it is hard to remove it.
Yes, you can delete a post, but others may already have taken a copy of it (never underestimate the power of a screenshot). People might take advantage of personal information you post and use it against you.
So in the words of Miss Universe 2016 Pia Wurtzbach, “think before you click”.
2. Review Your Social Media Accounts and Unfriend Strangers
One of the first rules we're taught as children is not to talk to strangers. And as we get older we must apply this to our online activity. We should always take note of the 'stranger danger' mantra. It's important to remember that people we only know from the internet are strangers.
Decide which photos are worth keeping or deleting.
So take time to review your friend list and unfriend people you do not know. What good does it serve to have thousands of friends online? It only takes one post showing where you are or where you're going, for your safety to be compromised.
Moving forward, only accept friend requests from people you know personally.
Also, try scrolling down through your previous posts and decide which photos are worth keeping or deleting. Take down any photos you wouldn't want others to share. And make sure you adjust your privacy settings so only friends can see your updates.
3. Post responsibly
As much as the internet empowers and entertains us, it should be treated with responsibility and caution.
We are all familiar with the proverb, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you." We should live by this moral code, both in the real world and in the virtual world. We should keep eachother safe, just as we hope to be safe online.
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