Cyber safety – why is it important?
The Internet is a great information tool and can also be a lot of fun. Unfortunately, it can also open you up to potentially risky situations with serious outcomes.
Being cyber safe means acting in a smart, safe and responsible manner on the Internet and other connected environments. Cyber safety is about protecting your personal information, reputation and well-being.
Protecting children and young people
There are many things that young people can do to stay cyber safe: never include personal details such as phone numbers or email address on online profiles, never share passwords, think carefully before sending or posting a photo as once it’s sent it can never be retrieved, never share personal details with (or meet up with) a stranger, and don’t argue online.
However the best way for children and young people to stay cyber safe is for the adults in their lives to be actively involved.
Cyber bullying has a detrimental effect on young people and can cause mental health issues such as anxiety, poor academic achievement, poor relationships with peers, low self-esteem and loneliness. Raising awareness of bullying issues when they occur in adolescence is socially and economically more effective than dealing with enduring problems in adulthood.
Research indicates that bullying peaks twice in childhood—once in primary school and again during the transition to high school, making the implementation of programs in primary schools a key goal.
While a big focus of cyber safety education in Australia is aimed at helping to keep children and young people safe online, evidence shows that, to promote the safety of young people further, it is also important to put the focus on the adults in their lives. Many adults are not confident enough about their knowledge to feel like they can help their kids make the best use of technology. By helping parents to understand how and why their children use technology, they are better able to guide their children’s online interactions.
Cyber safety for seniors
Cyber safety is equally important for senior citizens. Our seniors are increasingly becoming more active online to keep up with family and friends, but this also increases the risk of becoming the victim of online scams and hacking.
Seniors can stay cyber safe by ensuring their computers are protected with security software and never providing personal information to strangers.
It is recognised that libraries are an essential community resource to provide users with the skills to be smart, safe and responsible users of digital technologies. eSmart Libraries is an Australia wide initiative supported by the Telstra Foundation and is a behaviour change initiative for libraries to help improve cyber-safety and deal with cyber-bullying and bullying.
More information available at these websites