Student life has changed rapidly over the past number of years. Everything from how we learn, what we learn and how we socialize is different than previous generations. Most of these changes have been spearheaded by technological advances. While modern technology and the internet are undoubtedly fantastic tools for education, there are some things that we need to consider in order to stay safe online. Check out this guide for students on how to stay safe online.
Cyberbullying is unfortunately very prevalent in today’s society. Cyberbullying differs from traditional bullying as technology such as smartphones and the internet is used by bullies to hurt people. Mean comments and false rumours are some of the most common types of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is such a big issue as young people can be subjected to it at any time of the day and can often happen when there are no witnesses around to try to stop it.
If you are a victim of bullying or cyberbullying the best thing you can do is to tell your teacher, parent or guardian. By sharing the problem you will take your first steps in stopping the bullying. It is also important to keep a record of the bullying. Try to take screenshots of messages and use them as proof of the bullying. Once you go to an adult and have a record of what has happened its a good idea to then block the bully. Most popular apps allow for unwanted contacts to be blocked from messaging you.
Your personal information is private and should only be shared with trusted people and institutions. Even small pieces of information like your postcode, date of birth and home address can help people to steal your identity and commit fraud. These should only be shared with people that you fully trust. Extremely sensitive information like your SIN number should be very closely guarded. If in doubt, ask a teacher or adult.
Students also need to be very careful about allowing people to take pictures of them and also sharing pictures online. There is an ever-growing number of predators online who are looking to take advantage of young people. It is vitally important that young people are aware of the dangers posed by sharing pictures online. If you must have a social media profile, it is a great idea to have the account set to ‘Private’. This allows you to police who, and who can not view your profile and pictures.
Unknown Contacts & Private Numbers
There is such a wealth of information online. It can really help with studying, pursuing hobbies and staying in touch with friends and family. But it’s also a tool that some people use to commit crimes. At any given stage there are a number of scams happening all across Canada.
It may take the form of a fake call from someone pretending to be your bank asking for your financial information. It may also be a bully trying to cyberbully you over the phone. To protect yourself from this apply this one simple rule – if you don’t recognize the number, don’t answer.
Even though we live in a connected world, it’s still a great idea to get offline and leave our devices behind on a regular basis. ‘Digital Wellbeing’ is becoming a hot topic for lots of people and tech companies. Digital wellbeing looks to promote the healthy interaction between humans and technologies. One of the main components of it is to spend less time online and interacting with devices. Talking with friends on messaging apps is nice, but it’s much more rewarding to meet up with friends and chat face to face.
Too much time online, especially on social media, can be damaging for our mental health and can leave us feeling bad about ourselves. To combat this why not organize going for a walk or hike with friends and leaving your phones behind?
Now more than ever, it is vital that we stay safe online, protect our personal information and stand up to cyberbullies. If you feel unsafe online, please talk to your parents or teacher. They’ll be more than happy to help you!