SAFER INTERNET DAY 2018- Create, Connect and Share Respect

Written by Shannon Williams, Marketing Intern at the Wales Co-operative Centre and student at University of South Wales

Safer Internet Day aims to create a safer internet and a better internet where everyone can be safe and empowered online. Safer Internet Day is about teaching everyone to use technology responsibly, respectfully and critically. A better internet starts with you being able to ‘Create, Connect and Share Respect’, which is this year’s theme. How can we do that?

Create

The internet can be a great creative outlet. Creating things on the internet can come in many different varieties, some of the most popular forms of self expression at the moment are:

  • Blogging;
  • Drawing;
  • Poetry and creative writing;
  • Vlogging.

But how do you keep safe when doing something creative? When you want the world to see what you can do and when you want to keep things more private?

Passwords and data are one of the main ways you can keep safe, because if someone is able to get onto your blog they could impersonate you and how do your viewers know its not you that’s writing everything? Think about the impact that someone else pretending to be you could have? How could it change your followers opinions of you and the blog you’ve worked hard for?
Luckily for you if you don’t share your passwords you’re half way there.  However, if you want to be extra safe and have more control over who can see your web space, maybe some sort of safety software is what you need. Many websites will already have some free software you can embed into your sites, so just install, and then you can share your creations worry-free!

Connect

Being social online is very popular these days, with Facebook having over one billion active members, and Instagram having 100 million people posting each month! This means that if somebody wants to find out about you, they can easily just Google and your social media is bound to turn up on the search.

Do you know if you have your safety features on these? Are your pages private? Do you know the people you are adding to your friends list? Restricting who you add and how easily people can find out about you is a big step, but needed in this day and age. Especially when so many trolls and bot accounts are online. It’s also important to think about what you post online, because it could affect how future employers will think about you, sometimes meaning you won’t be picked for the job.

Gaming online isn’t much different; while talking to strangers online might seem like fun while you’re playing a game, do you know where to stop the conversation? Do you know not to meet up with them? Are you going to add them as a friend if you’ve never met them before in reality? Remember that you don’t really know who you are speaking to.

Being safe and social online is hard especially now there are so many sites that encourage you to meet. But go with your gut and if you do want to meet up, make sure it’s in a public place, tell someone where you’re going and who it’s with, send someone a photo and some information about the person you’re meeting if possible and be sure to check in with them to let them know you’re ok.

Share Respect

The internet has given many people an outlet to share their opinions and passions publicly, and while this can be a great way to start a debate or get people talking (think campaigns like #MeToo, or the ice bucket challenge) it can also lead to the internet becoming quite a negative space.

Remember that words are powerful, even though you can post them anonymously, they can still hurt people – so share respect online. Try to only post positive comments, don’t get involved in other people’s arguments and don’t share inflammatory posts from other people.

Be Critical

Spam emails and texts are becoming a whole lot smarter, with spam services perfecting emails and texts that look like they could be from friends or trusted companies. Think before you click! Do you know who that email was actually from? Do you know if that was really your friend that sent you a text message from Spain with a broken arm? Before you send any details about yourself, your address or your card details, think. Think if this is normal? Be critical. If you are having doubts, check the official website and phone the official customer service number, or call your friend who’s apparently in Spain. Double checking something won’t take a lot of time or effort, but could safe you a lot of hassle.

Here’s some tips you could use in the future…

Some good ways to recognise spam emails are:

  • The email doesn’t use your name but ‘Dear customer,’
  • The email requires you to enter date of birth, full name, address, etc.
  • The email might include a threatening message if you don’t respond immediately.
  • The email asks for your bank details or pin number – a real bank will never ask for this and pin numbers are not required to shop online

I’m not saying to not use the internet because the internet is an amazing space, it can enhance many areas of your life and help you stay connected, but only if you use it correctly and in a positive light. The internet is brilliant because it can help you have a voice. Just remember to use that voice responsibly, respectfully and critically.

CREATE, CONNECT AND SHARE RESPECT: A BETTER INTERNET STARTS WITH YOU.

For more information for keeping safe online click here

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