SID 2013: More than a day, a lifestyle!

February 5, 2013 was the 10th annual SID 2013, more commonly known as Safer Internet Day.  This year’s theme: “Online Rights and Responsibilities.”

I cannot think of a better theme.  Through my tenure in community and online safety, the majority of “safety” chatter revolved around:

  • Identity & privacy,
  • Appropriate environments for children,
  • Avoiding fraud, and,
  • An end to cyberbullying.

All very important, super serious topics, of course!  But I want you to consider SID a little differently for a moment (doesn’t matter if you work in the online industry, or are curious about it).

Think about your digital day (or your spouse, or parent, or CHILD’S digital day).  Think how quickly and gracefully we interlace technology into our every moment. With wifi, you can access Facebook on the tablet in your lap while streaming reruns from Hulu via your smart TV’s internet connection.  You can send and receive work emails from your seat 14,000 miles above ground, thanks to GoGo and your laptop; or casually browse the digital library on your Kindle while on the beach in Florida.  You can finger-peck at your smartphone screen as you stand in an aisle at the grocery store, scanning for recipes.  Or, you can GPS your child’s progress walking home from school, while he’s watching new Youtube videos from Smosh or Tobuscus (famous Youtube celebs that kids love) on his iPod.

The web is only going to get more accessible and have more powers.  I have a friend (a very clever, non-industry friend) who can control his house from his cell phone.  Let me repeat that: he can control his house from his mobile telephone, on the go, whenever.  For example, I stopped by to pick up my golf clubs, but he wasn’t home.  No problem, I texted him (he lives in Los Angeles) and he used an iPhone app to open his garage, turn on the house lights, and unlock the door… all the while, sitting in a bar on vacation in Las Vegas.  Oh and did I mention, he could watch my movements via a camera feed?  Yup.

Basically, you want something? You can digitally have it, and the web is watching, waiting, and keeping track.  Oh yes, keeping track.  By accessing information, you are now imparting something of yourself – be it as simple as an IP address, as easy as a G+ (Google Plus) universal login, or as informative as a detailed profile.

Congress, the FTC, privacy groups, and lobbyists argue, debate, and theorize about what it means to have a “digital footprint” these days, and WHOSE responsibility it is to care for that footprint.  Fraud, bullying, child safety… these are all topics that fall within the overall debate about rights and responsibilities. Your rights, your responsibilities.

Using the web is no longer a solitary event, like Bingo for seniors, or the visiting the library during finals.  It’s not kitsch like the latest haircut, and it’s not temporarily on top like “the car of 2013.”  Using the internet is a lifestyle, and if you’re reading this blog post?  My friend, you’re a part of it.

Don’t be scared, be proactive. Be smart, and stay smart.  This year’s theme for “Safer Internet Day” is an empowering call to action!

Want to know a bit more about your rights and responsibilities?  No problem.  Start the conversations at home about online safety.  Here’s three simple steps suggested by the National Cyber Security Alliance (great organization to research):

  1. STOP: Before using the Internet, take time to understand the risks and learn how to spot potential problems.
  2. THINK: Take a moment to be certain the path ahead is clear. Watch for warning signs and consider how your actions online could impact your safety, your kids’ safety or that of your family.
  3. CONNECT: Enjoy the Internet with greater confidence, knowing you’ve taken the right steps to safeguard yourself, your family and your computer.

Also, check out this SID Kit for schools (a lot of this stuff is great for you at home, or to share with friends and family members):

It doesn’t hurt to stay tuned to our Metaverse Mod Squad blog.  We cover a great many topics, and the safety of our clients and audience is one of those topics closest to our hearts.

Did you miss SID 2013 on February 5th?  Never fear, we also still have Internet Safety Week (April 19 – 24) and Internet Safety Month (June) to look forward to!

Izzy Neis
Digital Strategy and Engagement

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