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Safer Internet Tips 2020

The internet can be used to share world news events, find funny or cute videos or even create an online movement for change. Social Media is an exciting, innovative place to share ideas and stories. However, using the internet badly can affect our wellbeing negatively.

Safer Internet Day promotes ways to improve the time we spend on the internet. Sometimes our minds can feel ‘busy’ after absorbing so much content. Sometimes we might be overwhelmed by the amount of information that is thrown at us on a daily basis. Safer Internet Day is all about working "together for a better internet".

Switch off push notifications

By disabling notifications, you will be less tempted to access social media as much. Without these on your phone, you will lower your screen time and spend more time focussing on what is going on around you.

Find out how to do this on iPhone here.

Don’t use more than one site at once

Having multiple tabs open can be distracting and overwhelming. Although multi-tasking is a useful skill, limit your use of it when using the internet.

Take breaks

Be sure that you're spending some time offline - a five-minute walk can be enough of a break. Clearing your mind with some fresh air is like taking your brain to the gym. Give your brain a chance to prepare for all of the information it will take in each day.

Be empathetic online

Consider that what you say and share online will affect others, so commenting, posting and sharing things on social media should be done mindfully, and you should think about how your opinions would be taken if they were vocalised in a room full of people. Be more empathetic and strive to create a safer and more relaxed experience when using the internet. Share something positive and choose your words carefully.

Lastly, how do you feel?

Checking in with how you feel is another important step when online. Tense? Angry? Take a step back and distract yourself by doing something else. When you're feeling calmer it will be easier to evaluate the situation. Don't forget, if what you're interacting with is too big to handle alone, or you are a victim of harassment or bullying, access confidential services at the Student Information Centre at College.

Digital wellbeing is about how happy and comfortable we are when we are online and by taking the steps above can be small ways to keep yourself safe and well online. Check and ensure the security of your personal profiles and take care to keep your mind healthy whilst online, too.