Digital Awareness and Safe Surfing

In a 1999 Jeremy Paxton interview of David Bowie, Bowie had this to say

I don’t think we’ve even seen the tip of the iceberg. I think the potential of what the internet is going to do to society, both good and bad, is unimaginable. I think we’re actually on the cusp of something exhilarating and terrifying”

Almost a quarter of a century ago, how much has changed!

But what does being digitally aware really mean?

Knowing what digital tools are available to make life easier and how to use them. The last few years, during the pandemic, accelerated generational usage

How many of these do you use?
What do you feel are the benefits?
What do you feel are the downsides?
Are there some areas where you feel more confident than others?

How to set up a Digital Signature

To set it up go to this link it provides a comprehensive overview of the Digital Signature and the benefits and a step by step guide on how to set yourself up using the government portal. Digital Signature link

Health Services online access

La Meva Salut is a personal digital health space that enables you to access your health information, consult with professionals, and perform procedures in an easy, secure, and confidential manner.
To set up your access follow this link La Meva Salut

Online Banking

All banks offer this facility which enables you to manage your account online, you will generally need to go into your bank taking relevant identification with you to set this up. It goes without saying that to stay safe pin numbers and access passwords are kept secret and not written down where a fraudster can access. Banks and other financial institutions will never ask for pin numbers or passwords. Be wary of any online communication such as email, direct messages, text or WhatsApp messages that look like they are from your bank, never reply to these. You can check the validity of any communication by contacting the bank separately at the number you have been given officially and through your online banking portal

On line shopping

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it’s a duck – in other words if it seems too good to be true it is. Be wary of Facebook and other social media adverts they are generally cheap knockoffs from China and what you get, if you get it, will bear no resemblance to what you thought you were going to get!
Never pay by Direct Debit for online purchases – you are basically giving the seller cash and you have no way to reclaim it if you are dissatisfied. With a Credit Card you can charge back and you are also insured. Paypal and Stripe are  also secure payment portals
Trustpilot – if you want to check a businesses credentials ie can they be trusted click on this link to go to the Trustpilot website and type in the name of the selling company and any dodgy activity and reviews will be listed. It has been noted that there may have been infiltrations by fake reviews on the site but often these can be spotted because the way they are written is often over enthusiastic and poor grammar as they have originated from Chinese bots (A bot — short for robot and also called an internet bot — is a computer program that operates as an agent for a user or other program or to simulate a human) 

Being Digitally Responsible

Abuse and misinformation

Are you familiar with the terms trolling, keyboard warrior, or, stepped into strange rants about nothing in particular, cryptic posts, empathy posts, posts that encourage you to copy and paste and share, negativity, sharing posts on that you don’t know the provenance or origin of?

All of the above don’t do it, encourage it, share it or join in. It is very easy to be sucked in, if you think someone is being unreasonable then report to FB or on group pages to Admin the same applies to all Social Media they each have a reporting process.

If you are being treated in a way you are not comfortable with block the person responsible, the same goes for unwanted attention, or, if you suspect fraudulent or illegal activity.

To report, block or carry out any of the actions above that prevent bullying, or, disinformation on Facebook or Instagram click on the three dots top right of any post and choose from the drop down menu

Internet dating, friending and unwanted attention

Catfishing is the latest trend to literally hook people of all genders in. This can be in the form of people commenting on a post you have put up or in response to a comment you have made on someone else’s post. They will use flattering remarks that are very generalised and if you click on their name and profile and go to their page you will find they have no history, their page is recent and there no posts and very few photographs, basically they are fake and all about getting information from you. Follow this link to Age UK they have a really good article with great tips on how to stay safe and not be conned by very sophisticated individuals who are often working as a group targeting single, older people who they think may be lonely or vulnerable.

FB and Social Media Quizzes

Phishing (Info gathering) by potential scammers or marketing companies take the form of typical posts what was your first car, your band name is your mum’s maiden surname, your grandma’s first name and the colour of your underwear, to be honest if you are online your details are out there but the info you provide in these things helps internet marketers to target you with seemingly relevant ads. It all seems entertaining and a bit of fun but you are offering up answers that are usually used to verify your identity when accessing things like online banking or online puchasing. Basically don’t do them and don’t share!

Are we being spied on?

Alexa, Siri and keeping your microphone on – ever had a conversation then go on the internetand ads pop up for the very thing you were talking about, the Internet is always listening! Tipson how to stop smart devices listening in go to this link Komando

FB and other social media – what happens when you die?

Better Place Forests have a really comprehensive to do list to help you and your familydecide what to do after your death, very simple straightforward instructions for all platforms. Go to this link at Better Place Forests for the step by step guide. Another interesting article and good resource is at this link from The Guardian – Digital Legacy – how to organise your online life after you die

Internet Use and Mental Health

86% of smart phone users check their devices while actively speaking withfriends and family and 71% of people sleep next to their mobile devices

Areas for concern:

  • Lost without your phone?
  • How much Screen Time? Your phone will tell you how much screen time you are viewing each day, find ways to reduce it
  • Individual and personal worth being measured by likes, friends, followers – can lead to feelings of loneliness, not being popular and affect confidence
  • Comparison with other’s seemingly perfect lives – what you see of others lives is not reality! How many selfies do you take before you have one that you think is good enough? Everyone is just looking to impress, don’t fall into the trap that everyone else has a perfect life, they don’t. We tend to only share the good times. 
  • Social distancing – handy when there is a pandemic but losing personal, face to face interaction is detrimental to our mental health.
  • Exclusion – when you post and you only get a minimal response or no response it can lead to feelings of exclusion that people are not interested in you. Get off your device and go join in activities in the real world where you can make your presence felt and your voice heard. Not every post you put on social media is even read because things like Facebook do not share your posts with all your friends, so often it is not your friends ignoring you it’s that they haven’t seen your post.
  • Seclusion – where you gradually isolate yourself because your only interaction is online and being present in person either becomes daunting or too much effort
  • Taking phones/tablets/laptops to bed – aside from blue light (see below) the temptation to keep your mind active by scrolling news feeds, going down the rabbit hole of short video clips, or, playing games is not conducive to a good nights sleep. We use the excuse of it is our alarm clock or we need to be contactable in emergencies then at the very least put it more than arms length away. If you genuinely need it to wake up  or answer an emergency call you will still hear it but you won’t be tempted to use it.  The same goes for listing to talking books or apps that play calming and relaxing music or sounds to help you sleep, invest in a blue tooth headphone or eyemask headphone so you can still hear but again the actual phone is unreachable without getting out of bed
  • Blue light – it is scientifically proven that the light emitted from electronic devices Constant exposure to blue light over time could damage retinal cells and cause vision problems such as age-related macular degeneration. It can also contribute to cataracts, eye cancer and growths on the clear covering over the white part of the eye. You can change the light emissions on your phone and electronic devices in Settings, each device will be slightly different but a quick Google search for altering your device should bring up easy to follow step by step instructions
  • Protecting our young people – young people are particulary susceptible to peer pressure and all the issues we have highlighted above, encourage open discussion, know what your young people are viewing, use parental controls, see the Great Advice section below for useful links to support parents, grandparents and carers
Do you remember “Why Don‘t You….just turn of your TV and go and dosomething less boring instead?

Limit your time surfing/working
Take regular breaks

Don’t take your device
To the table
When watching TV
When you are sitting with friends and family
To bed

Great Advice!

Unicef – 5 wqys to better mental health online

Young minds – Social Media and Mental Health

Childnet – Digital Wellbeing