By Ida Lassesen when she isn't writing, she spends her time travelling, eating or watching Asian horror flicks- but most of the time she's busy testing out any anti-aging product she can get her hands on

The next time you deny your child access to the Internet, you may be violating their human rights. That’s according to the United Nations Human Rights Council, which in 2016 passed a non-binding resolution condemning countries that intentionally take away or disrupt its citizens’ Internet access. Here, we’re taking a closer look into the ups and downs of being able to stay connected – anywhere, anytime, and with anyone. So here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly of connecting through the internet – except we’ve reversed it. Why shouldn’t we end on a good note?

Ugly

Hacking of personal information

We may think it’s really convenient that our devices store all our credit card information. No need to fumble through our purses to get our cards out and type out the details each time we want to order Deliveroo. However, we pay a price for this small bit of convenience. With everything done online these days, that means that our personal information exists there too.

It’s not just your money that’s in danger. Even your health records and location could easily fall into the wrong hands. But don’t worry, there is a multitude of ways you can prevent yourself from becoming an easy target. Recently, the UK government announced that as part of its Digital Strategy, it would introduce initiatives to help people become more tech-savvy and surf the web in a more secure manner, in addition to improving the cybersecurity infrastructure itself.

Dissemination of harmful ideas

It’s obvious that the Internet has created a vast, global channel for people to exchange ideas. This can be a great opportunity for learning and progress, but the forum really is a double-edged sword. The Internet has provided more efficient and wide-reaching methods for people to radicalise others, all under the cover of anonymity. Consequently, there are several examples of youth being groomed by extremist groups online, to fight for causes they would’ve probably never heard of it wasn’t for the Internet. Similarly, the rise of online scams would suggest that it has exposed vulnerable people to a whole host of new ‘bad guys’.  From love scams to phishing scams, you don’t even need to leave your house anymore to get robbed. Not to get totally morbid on you, it’s just an unfortunate consequence of the infinite ways that technology makes our lives easier.

 

Bad

Data Harvesting

We’ve all heard about the Facebook/ Cambridge Analytica scandal. Not only did it become one of the biggest Internet-privacy related scandals in recent memory, but it made Internet users sit up. How is my data being used, and what for? In this case, it was used to build a system that could profile individual voters in the USA, in order to target them with personalised political advertisements leading up to the 2016 US election. With all the personal information we put out there, who knows what could happen next?

Ever searched for a product online, only to start getting ads on Facebook for it the next day? Sounds innocent enough, but with apps designed to track your phone habits, and Google tracking up to 76% of the websites we visit, it seems nothing we do online is private anymore. Again, there are steps you can take today to protect your data, including strengthening your privacy settings on Facebook. Or why not switch to social media sites that don’t harvest or sell your data and personal information? Here at Kindaba, we are passionate about building a new norm where data sharing and selling has no place. Unlike most mainstream social media networks, Kindaba is ad-free and does not, and will not ever, sell your data. One less thing to worry about 😊

Good

Keeping family close

Who says being connected is a bad thing, though? As the product of Norwegian and Singaporean parents, who travelled all the way up to Scotland to study, I’ve got family and friends scattered everywhere. I’m not alone – apparently, the number of students travelling overseas for uni increases at a whopping 12% a year 😲. Being able to FaceTime or WhatsApp my family whenever I please definitely makes home feel less far away. It’s no doubt that, thanks to the internet, families can be closer than ever before. 

The world is your oyster

The Internet has also improved the sharing of information, creating a worldwide exchange of ideas. Wikipedia is a prime example of this. Want a full history of the UK Singles Chart number ones? Wiki it! Want a list of animals with fraudulent diplomas? It’s on Wiki too! In all seriousness, the Internet has become the go-to place for information on, well, anything.

Reading the daily news, looking up historical facts, trying a new recipe, or searching for your next holiday destination. It’s all online and accessible right at your fingertips. The Internet has also helped people who otherwise might not have had a platform to voice their struggles, and connected them to people who might be able to help. These include inspiring Crowdfunding campaigns and touching stories of hope and strength.

Be Data Smart

While it’s not all that doom and gloom, we have to be careful with how we connect on the Internet. Connecting with our loved ones far away has never been easier, but this convenience must not be taken for granted. And with the recent data breach of Facebook affecting 50 million users, I know I’m going to take some extra steps to ensure my passwords remain private and my data safe. Technology and innovation are wonderful things, don’t let a few bad eggs ruin your experience 😉

Still can’t get enough of all things social media? If you want to chat about all things family and technology with a whole group of like-minded parents, head over to our closed FamTech community and join us as we:

  • Discuss the journey of parenting in a digital age
  • Share the latest on all things family and technology

We can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

 
The world needs more happy

We are sending you a compliment every day, for a year!
 

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