Sometimes the internet can seem like a wicked place. With all of the breaches, fake news, scams, and hateful words that we constantly see on our social media accounts and news feeds, it can be hard to see how any good can come from it. That is what Safer Internet Day, February 5, 2019, is all about; celebrating the positive power of the internet and thinking about how we can come together to use this power for good.
This day, which started more than a decade ago and is now celebrated internationally, is an awareness-raising campaign that aims to create both a safer and better internet. Its goal is to empower everyone to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively. Through this year’s theme, “Together for a better internet,” young people from around the world came up with 16 goals to make the Internet a better place. Here are a few actionable items that you can do to achieve these goals and help make the internet a safer and better place:
- Report it when you see it. Whether it is a phishing email, a scam, fake news, or online harassment, report it. For phishing emails and scams that come through your UW email, you can use your email client to report it, or you can report it to firstname.lastname@example.org. For fake news, online harassment, etc. that you find on social media, follow that application’s guidelines for reporting content.
- Keep your social media settings private. Public settings can allow anyone to view your information. Hackers can use any information they see on your profile to pretend to be you to hack into your accounts and even your network’s accounts. Setting your profiles to private not only protects your information and online identity from being compromised, but it can also protect others.
- Create strong passwords and update your computer regularly. Weak passwords and out of date computers are vulnerable to hackers. As with public settings on social media accounts, this affects your information as well as others. A hacked account that uses your NetID could allow access to your personal data, other students’ or employees’ data, or University data.
For more information, visit SaferInternetDay.us.