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Safer Internet Tips 2021

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".

This year, the theme of Safer Internet Day is: 'An Internet We Trust: Exploring Reliability in the Online World'. 

The campaign focuses on how we can decide what to trust online, supporting you to question, challenge and change the online world for the better. It will explore how influence, persuasion and manipulation can impact your decisions, opinions and what you share online.

Keeping it Professional

Many professionals use social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok to stay in touch with friends and family, to share ideas and get information. This means that the information that you choose to share online will be accessible by those who may end up hiring you for a job, or interviewing you for a university course. 

Here's some ways you can protect your professional image:

  • Search for yourself - type your name and location into search engines. This is how future employers or other professionals will find out more about you, and you will be able to ensure that there is no information on yourself that you don't want to share.
     
  • Think twice - is that photo you've shared appropriate? Could that joke be seen as offensive? Be mindful with what you share on social media and even what you content you interact with.
     
  • Privacy settings - you can manage who has access to your posts. If your social media content is personal, it is recommended that you set your privacy settings so that only your friends and family can see it. If you choose to keep your profiles open, keep in mind what you are posting and sharing.

 

Always be Empathetic and Kind

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.

Resources

Check out some of our student-created resources to help you ensure you are keeping safe on the internet.

Safety on Instagram

How to stay safe on Discord

Postive social media use during COVID-19