The Internet has changed the world in ways that no one could have predicted. The development of new technologies like wireless broadband and fibre broadband and the transfer of many activities to the Internet has created problems and challenges that humanity has never faced before. The digital civilisation has brought with it many risks that we often ignore. This section provides an overview of the problems posed by irresponsible use of the Internet.
The Main Dangers of the Digital Society
Social networking sites contain fake news, tragic events, violence and sometimes simply useless content. There is a mixture of high and low quality material, which can be difficult to distinguish. Much attention must also be paid to security, such as the confidentiality of passwords and profiles.
There is also a high risk of losing track of time online. Social networks are designed by teams of experts using scientific knowledge and continuous experiments to help us spend more time on the different channels. For example, content goes on forever and you cannot scroll down the page to get to the end. The experts chose the layout of the page, all the buttons and colours to make it eye-catching. Furthermore, the timing of the appearance of certain content, such as advertisements, friends’ profiles and article titles, is no coincidence. They are the result of algorithms that analyse our behaviour and appear at specific times to capture our attention most effectively. Harvard University research has shown that viewing such structured content on social networks activates areas of the brain that are activated when using psychoactive drugs. The brain’s reward centre thus influences behaviour and decisions.
In general, the information collected on the site is not used for harmful purposes. It allows the site’s algorithms to ‘suggest’ content of interest. However, there is still sensitive information that you do not want to share. This includes photos, logs, location information, stored passwords, credit card numbers, contact information and sent messages.
This can be used not only by hackers, but also by spyware companies and those who analyse our online activities. Some unprotected information can also be used by subordinates who do not need access to our devices to access it.
Social Media Security
Social media has changed the way millions of people around the world communicate. While it facilitates the sharing of experiences, photos, recordings and messages, it has also become a platform for storing countless sensitive information, which can easily be ‘published’ by many unauthorised individuals. There are some simple ways to protect our profiles.
As stated on the ExpressVPN blog, one way to protect one’s data is to use multiple social media accounts. Share ‘real’ accounts with authenticated friends. If you want to follow different organisations, companies or groups, you can create separate ’empty’ profiles. This allows us to manage the content we share and adapt it to different audiences.
Another way to reduce the risks of using social media is to choose the content you share carefully. Avoid harassment, do not share photos of places we have visited or been that might reveal our location. If we want to be seen somewhere, we should consider adding photos after we have left.
We should also take the opportunity to limit the number of people who can see the information we share. With social media, more private content can be shared only with the inner circle. Another ‘trick’ to increase online safety is to remove metadata from the photos you share and do not allow people outside your circle of friends to tag your profile.
Bullying and Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is a threatening message intended to humiliate or demean someone. This includes degrading photos and recordings posted on sites such as Facebook or YouTube without the person’s consent. Other examples of cyberbullying include fake profiles or pages that reveal personal information or violate privacy. While the means and methods to combat cyberbullying are obvious, the hardest part is humiliating or forcing the victim to admit to being cyberbullied.
How to prevent this? If you are a victim of cyberbullying, the first thing to do is to avoid talking and arguing with the bully. The first step is to block the offending profile and report the problem to the social media platform used. Finally, it is a good idea to collect and save screenshots so that you can later prove to the police that you were victimised. But reporting to the police is the last step. Network security
It can also be improved by installing VPN encryption software. You can simply download it via your wireless or fibre broadband. It creates a private connection that prevents tracking and protects your online identity.
Smart use of websites and using traffic encryption software can provide effective protection against many online and social media threats.