Refresh your Perspective
Information on digital awareness for teenagers and people looking to understand teenagers
What To Do and What To Avoid When Spending Time On The Internet
We live in a digital world. Every aspect of our lives is made easy and efficient by electronics and the internet. But as it is with all things, nothing good comes without a side effect. The internet is a wonderful place, full of information and entertainment. However, the internet can also become a dangerous place, but only if you let it.
The anonymity of the internet is both an advantage and a problem. Because people can remain anonymous on the internet, people can maintain privacy while interacting with strangers, which is not always a bad thing, in situations such as online gaming. The flip side is much worse. Anonymity allows people with malicious intent to seem innocent, effectively lowering your guard and causing you to make a mistake that could have a serious adverse effect. But there is a multitude of ways to avoid this.
For starters, make sure you avoid blindly trusting people that you meet online. The worst thing to do is be upset or distressed and accidentally tell someone your personal information. Be wary of anyone or any website who asks you for your full name, any type of photograph, your current location, home or school address or the address of any of your family or friends, phone numbers, Social Security number, passwords, names of family members, credit card numbers, birthdays, and even the time in your area, which can allow people to narrow down your location. Never let the ease of online conversation lower your guard. People seldom need this information, and giving this information to the wrong person not only puts you at risk, but it puts your family and friends at risk too. If you realize you may have inadvertently shared any personal information online, inform a person you trust, and take the necessary steps to address it.
If someone sends you a link, never click it unless you have validated the link or the sender. Even if the link comes from someone you trust, always use a link checker, such as the one I have linked below. No matter how much you trust a person, it can never hurt to verify. These links can be used to “grab” your IP address, install malware or spyware on your personal devices, and gain unrestricted access to your devices and data.
In summary, the caution that you show in day-to-day life in the physical world should not be abandoned when you enter the digital world. In fact, you need to have a heightened sense of security given the anonymity of the digital universe. The internet is a medium of tremendous power, and as the Spiderman movies have taught us, “With great power, there must also come great responsibility.”