“Is the internet making you dumb?” It’s a question that might sound rhetorical at first. Especially if your first thoughts upon reading it were of cat pictures, strangers getting in to arguments, and fake news websites. But it’s a question that’s worth reflecting on when you consider how many people take risks or to stupid things online that they wouldn’t do in real life.
The difference between the way people behave online and the way they behave IRL (that’s ‘in real life’, for all you non-netizens) is something that people have studied since the late ‘90s. Basically, it all comes down to the differences in the way people interact online and in real life. Things that would be present in real life to make us re-think what we’re doing, like eye contact, immediate physical threats/consequences, and ‘bad vibes’ or instincts, aren’t present online. In other words, it’s harder to tap in to things that in hindsight, you recognise that you should know.
As a result of these missing cues, people do silly things. They trust people they otherwise wouldn’t trust. They accept mysterious offers that are too good to be true. They let their guard down, choose convenience over compliance, and generally aren’t as vigilant.
That’s the kind of behaviour that one public initiative aims to change.
What’s the Stay Smart Online Week all about?
Every year, the Australian Government runs a special event to help make Aussies more aware of how they use the internet – however they use it. It’s a week of awareness events, publicity campaigns and social media drives designed to educate and remind people to keep their wits about them, whether they’re simply checking their emails or social media, or conducting large transactions.
Every year, the initiative reaches hundreds of thousands of people. If you want to get in on the action, check out the official Facebook page. There are also tons of resources on the official website that you can use for yourself or your business. The asset protection info is a must-see for small business owners – especially those trading online!
The theme of Stay Smart Online Week 2017 is ‘Simple steps to online safety’. It’s all about going back to basics, and showing people that you don’t have to be a computer whiz to protect yourself and your assets. Thinking about next gen virus protection software and crazy protective cases designed to stop fraudsters hacking in to your devices wirelessly? Take it back a step (or fifty) – we’re talking things like keeping passwords safe, being aware of scams, and treating personal/financial details carefully.
Money101 is all about keeping things simple and easy to understand; we’re big fans of this year’s theme. So to celebrate, we’re doing something different.