Our lives have become unimaginable without the Internet. It has become a powerful tool we use daily, for both professional and personal purposes.
The Internet gives us many opportunities to save time and resources, learn new skills, and re-prioritize values. Still, with the increased use of the Internet, we are witnessing the increased amount of risks coming with it.
Being on social media, and having an online presence has become a regularity, especially among the youngsters. We like seeing what other people do on social media, and to share our photos, insights, and videos so others can see what we are up to.
But do we know what happens with our data once we share them? Do we know which data should or shouldn’t be shared?
Our devices are our connection to others, but do we stop to think about what happens if the things we share online become misused?
Learning how to behave responsibly on the internet, and how to use technology safely is something that should be perceived as an obligation. But an obligation to ourselves since at the end of the day, it is us who can get harmed in the process.
All our actions on the Internet can be and are used for some purposes. The ads you click will feed the algorithms so you will see more similar ads, the music you listen to on YouTube will predetermine music suggestions for you, and so on. And these are just some of the standard things our data are used for. However, what we need to be aware of is that there are malicious people who can misuse our photos, who can use available personal information about us such as our hometown, the school we went to, or where we’ve been yesterday (especially for the people who like to share locations wherever they go).
On the Internet, it is not so hard to become someone else, so we are talking about identity theft. If somebody asks for your credit card information or ID information, do you share it via social media inbox without thinking twice? What happens if somebody uses a simple app (nowadays, there are plenty of them) to crack simple passwords and gain access to your inbox?
These are just some of the questions nations from all over the globe are struggling with on all levels. We must understand that although technology evolves insanely fast, the human factor remains one of the biggest challenges in all aspects.
So it is up to us to protect ourselves, by at least learning the basics on how to be responsible and safe on the internet and still use it according to our needs.
This text was prepared with the financial support of the European Union. The contents of this text are the sole responsibility of the Metamorphosis Foundation and the author and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.
The project “Increasing Civic Engagement in the Digital Agenda – ICEDA” is implemented by the Metamorphosis Foundation (North Macedonia), e-Government Academy (Estonia), Levizja Mjaft! (Albania), Partners for Democratic Change (Serbia), NGO 35mm (Montenegro) and ODK – Open Data Kosovo (Kosovo). The project is implemented with financial support from the European Union.