Have you read the latest online safety back-to-school tips? Some of the advice is excellent, such as resisting the urge to click on unsolicited links in text messages, locking your phone before you put it down, and never sharing your passwords.
However, to the tech-savvy among us, these bits of advice make us roll our eyes with a sigh of “same old….”
So, in order to liven up the back-to-school depression, here are some unorthodox tips that will help keep you safe online mildly technically, reasonably ethically and hopefully, legally.
Two pieces of online advice for students of all ages seem to be the hardest to follow.
First, as it has often been stated, don’t feed the trolls.
We all know how difficult it is to resist a witty come-back or a lashing-out when we have been publicly disrespected. However, in the online world, it is best to remain silent, no matter how vile the commentary by the trolls out there. Trying to defend yourself against false online accusations is always a loser’s gambit.
Next, be an up-stander.
Simply put – be nice to each other! Never post a negative comment about anyone. If you have a real problem with a person, take it up directly with that person in a civilized way rather than seeking weak validation by posting comments online. Be known for your deeds, not your words.
Now for those of you who like to hack…
I once had a friend who was involved in selling fake diamonds as if they were the real thing. He was always a schemer, and to this day, I still hear stories about his less-than-sane plans. He would tell me all about how the companies he worked for had to pack up when they heard that the international police were coming to raid their operation.
Hacking operations carry the same risks.
Treat all networks with respect.
Just because you are the greatest bad-a** hacker does not mean that you have to hack everything to prove your worth.
Regardless of what you read in some newspapers, most respectable companies are not hiring teams of rogue hackers to break into things. Read the details of those stories. They hire ethical hackers. If you want to become a professional hacker, there are legitimate ways to begin on that career path. Being a criminal is not, and has never been, the best path toward upward-mobility.
No matter how tempting, avoid hacking into your school computers. The reward is not worth the risk.
Along those same lines, use your technology wisely.
Just because you have the ability to get the test answers texted to you from your friend who took the same test an hour ago doesn’t mean you should accept that offer. The technology you are carrying is capable of amazing things. With that in mind, resist the urge to cheat! Cheating has never amazed anyone.
Today’s online safety tips are brought to you by the letter “N.” N is for NUDES, which should equal NEVER.
Seems that all a person has to do is send a text that asks, “Nudes?,” and in many cases, they get exactly that in reply. Make a new rule to protect yourself: Nudes = Never.
Too many people (not just teens) are getting caught in a horrible set of circumstances as a result of sending or receiving “sexts.”
On another note, shoulder-surfing is a new yet reprehensible art form among the school crowd.
This ability to snatch a password by glancing over a victim’s shoulder is so common that it has made its way into the Teacher Enrichment Materials of the Identity Theft Resource Center. It is incredible that people have such crystal clear eyesight that allows them the ability to shoulder surf; however, doing so clearly lacks vision.
Finally, step away and get back to what is real.
That is, real conversations that help you create meaningful relationships with real people. Put the digital world away every now and then. It will still be there when you return, and you will start to be amazed that you really did not miss anything while you were away.
Have an excellent, erudite and safe school year!