Welcome to day one of National eSmart Week!
|Today’s theme is: Smart Use of Technology
This week we encourage everyone to be smart, safe and responsible when using digital technology.
National eSmart Week aims to create awareness, share solutions and ideas for community education on issues of cyber safety, bullying and wellbeing, both on and offline
These days, sending and downloading images and videos is easy. The difficult part is if you can trust the person you’re sending it to. Here’s some stuff you need to know to help protect yourself.
- Remember that it’s easy to forward photos and videos sent by text or email and posted online, so if you wouldn’t want a photo or video, or some information about you displayed at your school assembly, think twice before you post it online or text it to anyone.
- As well as potentially damaging your reputation, you can actually be charged in court with making child pornography if you share nude or explicit photos of yourself.
- To protect your own safety, it’s not a good idea to send a photo or video of yourself to someone you don’t know in real life.
- Considering other people is a big part of using technology safely and respectfully. So it’s best not to take a picture of someone unless they know you’re doing it and agree to it. That’s especially true if they are doing something that they might regret or be embarrassed by later, or might get them into trouble.
- Webcams can help us stay in touch, but it’s important to think carefully and consider your safety before you accept a file or webcam feed from someone you do not know or trust in the real world.
- Remember that web cam images can be faked – so even if you think you’ve seen someone you’re chatting to online, they might not be who you think they are.
- If you see something online or get a text which scares or worries you, tell a trusted adult right away, and see if you can block the person who sent it to you.
The web is full of fun and information but it also holds other inappropriate content. Filter out what’s safe for you with some simple guidelines.
- The web has a treasure trove of information and fun stuff.
- Use a good search engine – Google, Yahoo! and Bing are all safe and reliable.
- The more specific you are, the better the results will be, so use distinct words or phrases for what you’re looking for.
- If you only want results that contain groups of words together, rather than separated throughout the document, put inverted commas around them (e.g. “search the internet”).
- If you don’t get what you want the first time, have a look at the search results you DID get and see if they give you any extra ideas.
- There is stacks and stacks of useful and fun stuff on the web – but remember that nearly anyone can put nearly anything on a website and call it fact – so it pays to think about who’s written the information you’re reading, and why they’ve written it.
- Have a look at the ‘domain’ of the website – sites that are associated with government (.gov or .gov.au) or education facilities (.edu or .edu.au) are generally pretty reliable.
- Use a bit more caution with websites that are .org, .org.au, .com, or .com.au – or those that have a person’s name in the web address.
- Always look at the ‘About Us’ section of the website if there is one. It’s usually a good indication of what interests, bias or attitudes the site’s authors have.
- Generally if the person or organization who has written the website is credible in the real world, you can have some trust in the information they’ve put in the web.
- If you’re not sure it’s reliable, it’s probably best not to use it for school work or rely on it too heavily.
- Using someone else’s ideas or words without making it clear where you got them from is a form of cheating called plagiarism.
- If you’re using someone else’s words, you need to include them in quotation marks (“) and make it clear where you got the quote from (the web address) and when (the date you accessed it). You should also include WHO wrote the quote if you can – but that’s not always clear on a website.
- If you’re using someone else’s ideas, you need to say that you are. Again, include the web address, the date you accessed the information, and the author’s name (if possible).
When using technology, it’s best to look out for scams, illegal activities and, more importantly, protect your privacy. Here are some tips to help make sure your privacy stays safe.
- There are a few other things to be aware of if you want to keep your computer or phone in good shape, so that it’s quick to use and always available when you need it (and doesn’t keep costing you or your parents heaps of money to fix).
- Always use anti-virus software, run regular scans and ensure you download updates.
- Back up everything on your computer once a month or so, so that even if you get a virus or your computer breaks down, you don’t lose your stuff.
If you do think you’ve been hit by a virus or Trojan:
- Disconnect from the internet immediately (turn off your modem, if you have to).
- Run your anti-virus software; and if you think the virus is still there, take your computer to a computer repair shop right away.
- It’s also worth deleting spam texts and emails immediately (or put them into your spam folder) without opening them or replying. As well as taking up memory space, some spam texts and emails contain viruses that could wipe out everything on your computer or phone.
Technology is great but every time you use it, you leave a trace of yourself. It could be in an email, a text or an uploaded image so take care with these simple hints.
Almost everything you do with technology leaves a trace: something called a digital footprint. Your digital footprint is a bit like a map of everywhere you’ve been with your technology – everyone you’ve spoken to (and sometimes, what you’ve said), every image or comment you’ve posted, and every file you’ve downloaded. Digital footprints are very hard, in fact almost impossible, to erase. Here are some examples:
- Text messages and emails can be saved by the person you sent them to, and forwarded to many more people than you ever intended.
- You can delete a blog, or a comment or image you’ve put on a site like MySpace or Facebook, but you don’t know how many people have downloaded it before you delete it – and a copy is always saved in the site’s archive.
- Even a one-on-one IM chat can turn into a public conversation if the person you’re talking to decides to record or copy it.
- Technology is great, but you do need to take some care about how you use it.
Making new friends online can be fun but it can also be dangerous if you’re not careful. Don’t worry; here’s some advice to help you out.
- It’s great to be popular, but remember that the more online friends you have, the more people can see any private information in your profile (even if you use the highest privacy setting).
- If you’ve added someone as a friend, and then changed your mind, you can generally delete them, but remember they have had access to whatever you’ve posted.
- When you’re communicating through technology, it’s easy to forget that the person you’re talking to is a real person with real feelings. If you wouldn’t say it face to face, or yell it out at your school assembly, don’t say it online. That goes for insults, swearing and rumours, too.
- You can’t always tell if someone’s joking when you can’t see or hear them – even with emoticons – so be careful when you’re chatting, to make sure that what you say won’t be taken the wrong way.
- Saying or forwarding mean or humiliating things about other people can cause them real worry and pain, or get them into trouble with their parents or the school. You can get in trouble for spreading stories about other people, too.
- In some parts of Australia, it’s against the law. Even where it isn’t illegal, the other person can take you to court and if they win, you can be made to pay them money for the hurt you’ve cause them.
- Making someone’s private information public (like posting their phone number or address online) might cause them more than a bit of drama (such as prank calls); it might put them in danger.
- Think before forwarding pictures, messages or jokes about someone else, or sharing their private information.
- If someone is giving you a hard time – through MySpace, Facebook or Bebo, texting, phone calls, email, Instant Messaging or in a chatroom – don’t respond and don’t reply. Lots of people will give up if they don’t get a response.
- But that doesn’t mean ignore it – tell a trusted adult and ask them to help you.
- Save nasty messages, texts or emails (or copy and paste Instant Messaging chats to Notepad) so you can show an adult if you need to.
- And remember, most chat sites, Instant Messaging software and phones have a feature that lets you block communication from people you don’t want to hear from.
- If you know someone else is being bullied, tell someone. The person being bullied might not have had the courage to find help for themselves