Posted by Kim Sanchez
Director, Trustworthy Communications, Microsoft
What does Digital Citizenship mean to you? If terms like digital literacy, ethics, etiquette, online safety, come to mind, you’re right on track. The term is all-encompassing, and is usually defined as “the responsible and appropriate use of technology.” Yet, understanding the consequences of not practicing good digital citizenship, is not always inherent.
For example, we know from the Microsoft Computing Safety Index that 77 percent of respondents in Australia said they’ve experienced multiple online risks, with only 21 percent taking several proactive steps needed to help protect themselves online. What’s more, password or account-information theft was cited as a concern for 53 percent of respondents, with 37 percent saying they use secure websites, and less than half acknowledging they educate themselves about the latest steps to help prevent identity theft. It’s necessary to manage all of these concerns in order to be a good digital citizen. So where does one start?
In an effort to help create a culture of positive engagement online and foster responsible use of technology, the ACMA has recently launched their Digital Citizens Guide, and three key messages of Engage Positively, Choose Consciously and Know Your Online world (www.cybersmart.gov.au/digitalcitizens).
This new resource provides tools and resources to help make positive decisions online, guidance to help live your digital life to the fullest, and information on how to help teach others, about developing better online habits. I applaud the ACMA for its role in helping Australian’s and all of us think about modeling and fostering the type behavior online we want to have and for others to follow.
In addition, Microsoft suggests these top three tips to help people worldwide stay safer online – at home, at work, and on the go, these tips can be linked to the ACMA’s Digital Citizen’s Guide:
- Protect your computer and your accounts: Keep all software (including your browser) current with automatic updating and install legitimate antivirus and antispyware software.
Know your online world
- Look for signs that a webpage is secure and legitimate. Before you enter sensitive data, check for evidence of encryption, meaning a web address with https (“s” stands for secure), and a closed padlock beside it. (The lock might also be in the lower right corner of the window.)
- Reduce spam in your inbox. Share your primary email address and instant messaging name only with people you know in person and with reputable organizations. Avoid listing them on your social network page, in Internet directories (like white pages), or on job-posting sites.
No matter where or how people access the Internet, exercising positive online behavior should be a part of our daily online routine. For additional guidance, regularly check our Safety & Security Center, where all of our tools and materials are housed, including our Digital Citizenship in Action Toolkit. “Like” our page on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter. Get proactive and get involved – engage positively in the online world!