We don’t live in a perfect world. Sometimes your online behaviour can put your safety at risk without you even knowing. Following these steps can reduce your risk and make sure your online experience is a positive one.
Be App Aware
Apps can be a way for hackers to install malware on your phone. Protect yourself by only installing apps from your smartphone’s app store. Avoid apps that want permission to access data like your address book, messages, and location. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut – delete the app!
Wipe Your Old Phone
Before you recycle it or chuck it in a drawer, remove all personal data from your old phone. Back up your contacts, files, and photos, then remove your memory card, restore factory settings, and double check all data has been deleted (Facebook passwords, internet browser history, cookies, cache, etc.).
Keep Passwords Protected
Keep information like passwords to yourself. If you need to write them down to remember them, use a password keeping app for ultimate safety. Enable the password setting on your phone and other devices to make sure you are the only one to have access.
Surround yourself with friends and relationships that build you up and allow you to be your true self. Don’t let unwanted and unwarranted messages creep in and dull your shine. Block, un-friend, and delete those that don’t leave a kind mark with their digital fingerprint.
There are some things you should keep to yourself. Not everyone needs to know everything about you. Things like full names, addresses, licence plates, where you work, birthday, and social insurance number should be kept private and confidential. As far as they are concerned, every day is your birthday.
Harassment, cyberbullying, hate – these are inappropriate and unacceptable behaviours with real consequences. If you experience or witness these types of behaviours – reporting them to site admins is the right thing to do.
Geo-Tag? No thanks!
Most smartphones are auto set to include a geo-tag with every picture you take. Therefore, social media sites post the exact location. Less than ideal. Only tag yourself, friends, and locations when you know it’s okay – no need to post your location in real time.
Be True to You
If something just doesn’t feel right to you – if you feel threatened by something in a text, IM, or anywhere else online, trust your gut. Report these actions to someone who can help.
A Message to Parents
Cyberbullying is a serious issue that shouldn’t be underestimated. Having an open conversation with your kids and letting them know they should talk to you if they’re ever bullied means they’ll be more likely to come to you should it happen.
If you suspect your child is being cyberbullied – listen. If your child is talking to you, they want your help. They are likely feeling vulnerable and had to build up a lot of courage before deciding to open up. Save any evidence of cyberbullying, such as text messages. Harassment is a crime, if there is a realistic threat of physical harm, talk to your child about reporting harassment to your local law enforcement office.
Every bullying incident is unique. Discuss a potential solution together, like calling the school or talking to the bully’s parents. Involve your child, as taking matters into your own hands may make things worse.