With internet playing an increasingly larger role in our everyday lives, it’s important we all know how to stay safe online. The past year has only reinforced the importance of staying digitally connected; yet, as a result, Netsafe is receiving more requests from people needing help under the Harmful Digital Communication Act. Netsafety Week is all about empowering people to take advantage of the opportunities offered by technology.
Wondering where to begin with online safety? Netsafe has put together some top tips to help you have better online experiences.
1 Korero with whānau ōu hoa (Talk with family and friends)
It’s important to engage with whānau ōu hoa about the technologies we use and to share the tips and tricks you use to eliminate challenges and risks. Netsafety Week is an opportunity to encourage positive korero around the power of the internet. Having regular, non-judgemental conversations minimises the harm if things go wrong and lets loved ones know you’re there to help.
2 Be a good digital citizen
A lot of internet activity happens on public platforms. So, it’s important to think twice before you engage online as it can be hard to delete or remove content you want to take back. Netsafety Week is a chance to reinforce good etiquette, and to be respectful of others and our differences. We know that certain groups of people are subject to more abuse and suffer more harm online. Speech becomes hate speech when it is used to attack a person or group of people based on attributes including race, religion, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation. It can also be a breach of the law.
3 Swipe left on fake news
A lot of what we see or read online is true but sometimes it’s put there on purpose to spread false information. Netsafe’s research reveals a third of people have accidentally shared fake news online. It can be hard to tell the difference between what’s real and fake so always ask yourself: is what I’m reading clickbait? Is the source trustworthy? Are the photos real? Where can I fact check this info? You can help others by not sharing fake news and reporting it when you see it.
4 Discuss sensitive topics
Sharing nudes is part of everyday conversation for many people, and there’s also a strong misconception amongst young people that everybody’s doing it. This myth places extra pressure and can result in many people being put in uncomfortable situations – and it can impact on people’s ability to seek help. Having open conversations around online intimate images and the places you can get support if your images have been shared or you’ve received one you didn’t want helps to remove the stigma.
5 Know your rights
The Harmful Digital Communications Act helps people dealing with serious or repeated harmful digital communications (like texts, emails, or social media content). The law sets out 10 Communication Principles which define what is good and bad behaviour. Netsafe has the responsibility to assist under the law and our expert incident team are available seven days a week.