Utah NetSmartz

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Take a seat, we will share with you what we have been up to and some of the new things we have learned about Internet safety!

Internet safety blog

Embrace an Awkward Silence

There are times when we see friends or family struggling. Sometimes they post about their feelings, or they start acting differently than they used to. When you notice your friend or family acting differently speak up. Seize the awkward silence and say something. Check out this video that reminds us that we can talk to our loved ones about mental health. #cyberaware #mentalhealth


Be the Real You

Social media gives us another space to invent who we are. Who is the real person, the online self or offline self? We can be authentic in both spheres. Learning how to be our true self online and offline can be hard, but it is possible to be real in all areas of life. Check out this great video on how to be authentic online.

What Would You Do if You Forgot Your Phone?

How often do you look at the world around you when you are waiting in line, or when you have a moment in-between meetings? Most of us use our phones as a way to deal with the moments in-between, but this story shows an interesting experience that Kevin McGeehan had when he forgot his phone. Let’s all take time to appreciate the world around us more. Check out his story here.

Internet Tide Safety 101

I remember when the internet became more and more accessible and convenient throughout the world. A common term I heard was “surfing the web” a term we don’t use as much now but the meaning still lives within many of us. I must admit that I am not a surfer but I recently read an article about how rip currents function and the real dangers that exist for ocean swimming. 

Certain signs of rip currents include, a difference in waves, a difference in water color and foam or objects moving swiftly out towards sea. Okay this blog is about Digital citizenship, above you will see the map of how to escape a rip current. Lets for a minute think about how this relates to our experience using the internet.  

First of all, in this map you see a majority of the ocean is safe. Speaking as someone who was married on the beach, I love being in the ocean. Fun activities like surfing, body boarding and snorkeling are my favorite. When viewing the internet as a whole, a majority is safe and full of fun.

At the same time we need to be mindful of where our attention is. The reality is, video games, social media, websites and videos are doing cartwheels for your attention. Certain online content will sprout flowers and others weeds. A Digital Citizen is someone who uses the internet experience responsibly, looking to plant flowers. I am not suggesting we can’t use such services for entertainment or “fun” but when you do use it that way, plan it out in advance and truly enjoy that time. I am a big believer in living in the moment, when it’s time to watch a movie with family, go all out and pop some popcorn. If you have a science question for the upcoming science fair, use the internet but use the resource for that purpose. Certain aspects of surfing the internet is just like a rip current, it is so easy and sometimes unrecognizable when web surfing has you lost in the online ocean. 

In 2015 the Merriam-Websters dictionary added the word “Clickbait” it is defined as “a sensationalized headline or piece of text on the internet designed to entice people to follow a link to an article or another web page”. No confession necessary, if you have caved to clickbait you aren’t alone. With the cookie tracks we leave when we go from website to website it creates easy clickbait where advertisements know what we want. On the other hand, these same cookies and saved web history has given us answers to difficult crimes that need to be solved. Such recourses have been an incredible tool for police detectives.   

In conclusion, keep asking questions. Technology is moving so fast right now and at times its easy to feel like a rat in an experiment. A few examples of questions to be asked, how can I benefit from my online experience? What can I add to help the internet be better?  What online rip currents take me away from online purpose? Where are my priorities and how can the internet assist me to better fulfill my roles?


Distracted Driving it’s not Worth it!

How often do you glance at your phone to see who’s texted you? Most of society does it way more than they realize.  In a study they found that 95% of people say that you shouldn’t use your phone while driving, but 71% of people still use their phones while driving. It’s hard to resist responding to a text or other notification. We are all afraid of missing out on something important, but is that message or notification worth a life? Check out this powerful video here that will get you thinking about your own distracted driving and what you can do to be the change on the roads, instead of the problem.