Do you know that feeling, when you are searching for a new apartment, then step into the perfect one and instantly start to imagine how your favorite cozy chair would look like by that window? It is kind of the same when we are using our digital devices: We place our favorite apps where we can open them quickly, create a background picture of our pet or dream vacation destination, and buy the devices that make our life easier – if you are used to iOS you are probably not going to switch to Android and it is the same the other way round. We humans like comfort, and there is no shame in wanting everything to be as comfortable as possible, so we can actually concentrate on the really important things.
But with social isolation, we hang out two more hours online than we used to, broadening our networks via online communities or social dating apps. The worst part is not having to go online to maintain a social life – on the contrary it is great, that we have this opportunity nowadays. The problem is, that we know how much information they want from us: you need to sign in with your social media profile and you cannot use them without an active mobile number for “security reasons” (for real?). And with all that, we give up staying safe, because we think this NSA guy (hey Paul) already knows everything about us, and there is nothing we could actually do against it.
You get my data! And you get my data! Everybody gets my data!
A recent study by Kaspersky shows, that even though 60 pc of us millennials are concerned about our security while dating online, only 36 pc are actually admitting they should do more to protect their digital privacy. To be honest, I am one of those people: I download all kinds of apps when I am bored at home: “You want my location data? Whatever, as long as I can have Talking Tom repeating everything I say in a funny high-pitched voice!” But okay, I am old enough to know better and not put everything online, and even if I am okay with people collecting my data by feeding me with targeted apps, this is just the tip of the iceberg. And don’t we all know, it was not the visible part of the iceberg that sunk the Titanic?
Filter Fun or Stranger Danger?
I personally know nobody who does not use social media. But the younger generations are certainly more at home and comfortable with using all the different platforms and having fun with filters. As more children have to stay indoors due to the pandemic about 33 pc of parents have become more lenient with the amount of time their children are spending online. Which is totally fine, if your children are aware of the potential dangers that may come in a public place like the Internet. But: about 52 pc of families trust their children to keep themselves safe online. Some of those children are able to set the right privacy settings and keep their accounts private, so their content is not available for everyone online. However, a thing we all know from funny video pages on social media: there are a lot of children creating insane content which is being shared all over the Internet to make fun of them, opening the doors for cyberbullying or even cyber-grooming. So yes it’s absolutely okay to let your children be on social media and grow their abilities and understanding of modern media. Yet, it is also important to talk to them about the dangers online – which are nowadays as real as the dangers we face offline – and with that have them live in their personal digital comfort zone, where they are safe and secure.