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Making Good Decisions Online – Part One

From Making Good Decisions Online – Available online on Folio

Is Access a Good Thing?

Having access to the Internet opens up a world of information. Like everything in life, users have to make choices about what information they want and what they believe.

The Internet also means that, effectively, anyone online can communicate with anyone else that is online. Great! Have a question about Japan? Ask a kid from Japan! Want to know the weather in Alaska? Ask a kid in Alaska to look out the window, but… without seeing them, reading their body language, and hearing the tone of their voice, how can you tell if they are telling the truth?

When you are young and using someone else’s Internet (at home, or school, for example) there will be rules to follow. They might include giving your access details to your parents for any sites or social media that you’re using, or accepting your parents’ restrictions on the types of games, apps and websites they consider safe for you to access.

Everyone Else is Doing It... Aren’t they?

“If you’ve got nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all!”Everyone has probably heard that saying, but that only means to someone’s face, doesn’t it?

Do you read online articles or watch online videos? It can be depressing to read the comments sections underneath articles and see how many people there are out there, that obviously enjoy arguing for the sake of arguing.

A modern term has been coined – ‘troll’. This often refers to Internet users who like to type threatening, derogatory or offensive statements to others, thinking they are anonymous or protected. This is a form of cyberbullying. It can lead to online arguments and fights which stay online forever.

Sometimes it can be easy to jump on the ‘band wagon’ when a troll has begun, supporting them by liking, sharing or commenting on their posts. Don’t – just because others do, doesn’t mean you should. Tell someone. Help the target, and block the troll!

Digital Footprints

As the world becomes more interconnected, there are lots of benefits for us, however there are also some dangers. Everything you do online, or interact with, combines to make your personal digital footprint. This digital footprint provides a lot of personal information about who you are, what you like and dislike, who your friends are and what you are interested in.

Blogs, personal profiles – there are lots of opportunities to be creative and develop good skills. Aside from the fun stuff, it pays to remember that the Internet is an open environment. Personal information is accessible and kept for years and years. It can be used by companies wanting to sell you stuff, and by individuals looking for information about you.

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