Internet Safety in 2020.
June is officially regarded as National Internet Safety Month, thanks to a resolution passed by the U.S. Senate in 2005. The original idea behind making it the month of June was that the summer would bring more kids online now that school is out, making it an ideal time for a revisiting to internet safety for our families. Now in June of 2020, there is a global pandemic afoot. Millions of people worldwide have found themselves online more than ever before due to quarantine and newfound remote work environments. Internet Safety Month 2020 is much more prevalent than ever before. A vast number of people who previously were not, are now working online, playing online, and schooling online. We are counting on the internet heavily in times like these, so a safer internet is a necessity.
We all need to take part.
While creating a safer internet as individuals may seem intangible, truthfully each of us play a major role in this shift. We our all members of the internet and contribute an equal amount, and we can collectively do our part to make a change.
So, specifically what can we do? Take a few moments to check out these three categories and the questions that follow. These 3 categories can help start your train of thought when it comes to keeping yourself and those around you safe online.
- Internet Security – Am I keeping my personal and work devices safe?
- Internet Safety – Am I ensuring myself and my family are safe online?
- Internet Ethics – In what way am I treating other people over the internet?
Device safety is more straightforward than you might think, provided you take the steps to ensure it. You can protect your devices with a comprehensive security suite, use a wireless router that protects all the connected devices in your home from malware, and you should always keep any software and applications up to date. You can also use securely generated passwords with the help of a password manager, which we highly recommend.
We like to think of internet security as another aspect of home maintenance. Just as you would mow your lawn, clean your garage, maintain your HVAC, or water your flowers, the same goes for the way you should look after all of the IoT (Internet of Things) devices that are connected in your home.
What am I doing to ensure the safety of my family online? This contains topics like identity theft, data privacy, cyberbullying, when to allow your child a smartphone, avoiding scams over the internet. Fortunately, we have tools to assist with these concerns, such as virtual private networks that encrypt your personal data, and apps that incorporate parental control software and built-in browser advisors to help keep your children safe online.
However, internet safety goes beyond devices, it could be considered a mindset, if you will. Much of our online safety relies on good judgement and control over our behaviors and mindset. For example, research shows that about 90% of all cyberattacks start with a phishing email where people click on links that should be thought about twice before clicking. Scammers always bank on you not paying full mind to what you are doing. Please make sure to always double check anything you’re conducting online if it could be considered important!
What example am I setting for others based upon how I treat people online? A big part of a safer and more welcoming internet is us. Specifically, how do we treat each other and how are we projecting ourselves to our friends, family, and even those we are not acquainted with? With the vast majority of communications happening over the internet now, it creates a climate around each of us. We believe said climate is what you make of it. Even more importantly, your climate is going to be out there for all to see.
Internet Safety Month is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the internet climate you have made for yourself.
- Treat others how you want to be treated. We all know the golden rule. It surely applies online just as it would in any other way.
- Do you best to retain both truth and positivity in what you share online. Staying clear of hatefulness and negativity goes a long way on the internet.
- Double-check your posts and messages before you hit send. Can what you have written be misinterpreted? Could it accidentally cause more harm than good? Always take a moment to reassure yourself of the validity of your social media posts.
Dedicating a small bit of time to your internet security and safety will go a long way down the line. It’s never too late to start.