There is no denying that we now live in a digital age.
We wake up in the morning and grab our phones from under our pillows–snoozing alarms, checking texts, scrolling endlessly through social media. Traveling to different places has never been so accurate with directions from advanced map applications. Now, it only takes one or two taps to ride trains and buses. Information is not scarce through search engines that have answers even to the mundane. It is as if we have a library in our pockets. Step-by-step instructions, skill enhancements, and detailed modules are now being distributed in all creative forms such as podcasts and videos.
But just like anything else, if not carefully dealt with, the joys of media and information can backfire. There are unlawful acts such as invasion of privacy, identity theft, and cyberbullying that may be practiced or experienced by any user. This is why it is vital that we know how to socialize digitally.
Truth #1: Be a Private Figure
The World Wide Web (WWW) does not lie about its name. It is worldwide. This means that distribution of materials and information to the world is one click away. This may be considered one of the perks that make digital media ahead of its ancestors, traditional media. Going digital is a promise that you can go real-time and full-blast for everyone to see.
Although this may sound like a positive thing, there are also risks that we should take note of. The information that we post online, whether we set our accounts to private or not, does not always mean safety. In order to participate in such a vast society, we should be mindful of what we post and share online especially when it comes to our personal information.
So, we must make sure that setting the boundaries of our own privacy is on top of our list when going online.
Truth #2: Keep Away from Stranger Danger
Checking in different locations real-time is one feature that we should be mindful of. The information that we post online is not foolproof and it can cost us our very lives. Everyone can access anything that we post and that might be a way for strangers to see us as easy targets.
If we really want to be socially active in the digital world, we have to know how to be cautious of our safety both online and in real life (IRL) as both can have a large effect to each other. We can use the location features when we just got out of that local restaurant or that cozy mall. This is a way for us to document the places we have been to without letting our guards down. Isn’t that a good compromise?
Truth #3: Be Kind
Our virtual lives do not separate ourselves from the real world. It is just an extension of our real life. This means that whatever we say or post online can be used against us. Being kind to others is a trick that never ceases to stick.
Remember that our comments do not just hit the Internet but also the person behind the other computer monitor: a living, breathing, human being like us who has feelings too. Content that suggests bad messages such as foul words and graphic photos should not be an option as this can lead other people to decisions that they will regret. So, if we have nothing good to say, we must just keep it to ourselves and acknowledge that we are a considerate digital citizen.
Learn more about the basic concepts of media and information. Become responsible users and competent producers of information and media content with Vibal’s Media and Information Literacy. You can get your copies of the book by sending us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.