Ideas on how users may protect themselves while sharing on social media have been previously shared in How to Stay Safe on Social Media however, the issue extends far beyond social media.
It is suggested, most digital users, whether active on computer, tablet, e-reader, smartphone, etc., suffer some degree of insecurity in their online activity. In all honesty they would have to be rather naive not to have some concern, especially as cyber crime appears to be ever more prevalent.
Some of the insecurities are fairly obvious and commonplace whereas others often depend upon an individual’s personality and character.
Hacking; Viruses; and Spam, tend to be the primary areas of worry.
In these days when a majority of people use their digital gadgets for most things: personal correspondence; finances; purchases; social media; live chats; writing; etc., there are naturally some concerns about the information, especially the more personal elements, becoming vulnerable to external exposure. As with most such matters, common sense regarding what is shared should be the guiding factor. Some may find the Infograph – Staying Safe Online helpful in this regard.
No, not the medical type, though the results can feel the same. A computer virus is normally malicious with the intent of highjacking the digital device (computer, tablet, e-reader, smartphone, etc.). The cyber criminal behind such an attack usually holds one of two aims: financial blackmail (demands payment to release the device) or control of the device for nefarious purposes (criminal activity that will be associated to the highjacked device rather than themselves). This has become such a major issue that a number of articles, relating to varied types of computer viruses, have been previously published in this website blog. Further details, including how to deal with them, may be found in Computer Viruses – Summary.
Thankfully it is not the questionable meat product that is being referred to here. Spam (Stupid Pathetic Annoying Messages – as some define it) refers to the sending of unsolicited messages. These may be distributed by a number of means including, email, message services, adverts, etc.
Note: The term ‘spam’ originates from a British comedy (Monty Python’s Flying Circus) that is set in a cafe where every menu item contains the canned luncheon meat known as spam.
Why people insist on spamming their fellows is often beyond comprehension. In most instances the intent is obviously to try and force their services or products onto people but surely, if they had any sense, they would realise this method tends to be counterproductive: It is probably one of the best ways to alienate potential clients, customers, purchasers, etc.
Of course, with spam there must always be concern the communication is hiding some sort of malicious software. Users should therefore be circumspect about opening anything that looks questionable. Thankfully, though it is regrettable they have had to go to the trouble of doing so, most genuine software providers have inbuilt systems to identify anything questionable and to put it to one side for the user to consider. Deletion and, where available, blocking the initiating email address or user, is advised.
Undoubtedly these will vary from person to person, though some tend to be fundamental to humanity. Most boil down to some type of fear: Being disliked; Considered unintelligent; Thought naive; People laughing; etc.
It is understood most psychologists consider it a basic human condition to want to be liked. Even those who have a tendency to be openly hostile and cruel appear to have the need. Users are therefore reluctant to publish anything negative or critical, even if it is appropriate and would help others.
The majority of people, especially in the so called civilised western world, otherwise frequently referred to as the industrialised world, pride themselves upon being educated and of equal intelligence to all others. To be thought less so often, usually, results in the person being looked down upon and considered of little value to society. No one likes that.
People like to be thought of as savvy, especially when it comes to social interaction. But attitudes can frequently mitigate this. For example: wanting to believe the best of people is considered by many to be naive and consequently a failing that results in such a person being despised or at best sidelined. Contrarily, it is suggested, in this often cynical world, rather than being despised such an attribute should be valued and enjoyed.
As is true with all the other ‘fears’ mentioned above people like to be thought of as being a valuable part of society with something to contribute. To be laughed at is undermining and can have a crushing effect. Many go to great lengths to avoid this.
Of course this is not an exhaustive list, much depends upon the individual character. Each will be able to identify their own concerns and insecurities.
What are the results of these insecurities?
Less Openness – Some will choose to be less open in their online activity and thereby deprive themselves and their contacts of a meaningful relationship. Such an approach may well, probably will, create a problem for people like authors whose fans often like to know about them as a person as well as about their books.
Lying – It has become known in recent times that many online users, especially in social media, blatantly lie about themselves, their families, what they are doing, etc. In fairness, with the inherent needs previously mentioned i.e. to be liked and approved of, such an approach may be understandable though by no means applauded. Beside anything else to lie in such communications will mean any ‘relationship’ will be formed upon a false (quicksand) foundation and is bound to ultimately collapse.
Reluctance – To counteract any possible critical exposure there are those who show a reluctance to participate in any discussion or conversation. This approach again deprives everyone from meaningful and enjoyable interactions.
Hesitation – A number of factors come into play here. When noticing a comment or something similar where the writer has omitted a fact or has included something erroneous, many will hold back from pointing it out. The desire to be liked may be one reason but there are also the issues of not wanting to make anyone feel silly or not wishing to enter into, or create, an argument. However, this deprives others of the truth and knowledge.
The more obvious reactions have been mentioned above but of course, there will undoubtedly be others.
The original intent was to provide a complete comprehensive article about online insecurities and how to deal with them. However, to include everything will make this far too long for most website/blog readers who have limited time. The decision has therefore been made to share the information across two articles. The second part ‘How to Deal with Online Insecurities’ will be published shortly.