Staying Safe Communicating Online

The use of digital technology has been increasing rapidly over the past few years and decade, becoming an ever-present and influential part of our daily lives.

The recent requirement to socially isolate and practise social distancing due to COVID-19 certainly hasn’t bucked the trend, and it shows no sign of slowing. During this time many of us have increasingly relied on technology to communicate and stay in contact with others and to fulfil our social needs. 

Community Living Australia remains committed to ensuring that its employees, clients and stakeholders remain safe and healthy in every way — including online. With social media, internet, video chat and email forming a larger part of our lives than ever before, we felt it was a good time to brush up on etiquette and how to stay safe online while making use of all the positives it has to offer.   

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are a great way to stay in touch with the world and be a part of an online community. However, while using these platforms, it is important always to consider your safety and privacy. This can be done by: 

Remembering that anything you send on social media has the potential to be seen by anyone else around the world: your comments, pictures and personal details can be easily taken and shared so make sure you don’t send anything that you wouldn’t want your friends, family, employer or a fraudster to see.  

Consider keeping your profile private so that only your close friends and family can see it.  

Don’t share personal information (date of birth, address, email and phone number)  

Keep your social media account passwords a secret and do not use the same passwords for multiple accounts and platforms.  

It’s also important to be respectful towards others on social media. If someone is rude to you online, try to de-escalate the situation by responding thoughtfully or by simply ignoring them. But if they are abusive, it’s best to block the abuser or even report them. It is important to never be rude, disrespectful or abusive in return. Make sure to always treat people with respect online.  

Email is an effective alternative to posting letters. They do, however, create an opportunity for fraudsters to attempt to steal your information. Be careful of people who email you pretending to be a company or person. Fraudulent emails can sometimes look very authentic.  Be very wary of any email that asks you for your personal or banking details. If you are unsure about an email: do not respond to it or click on any links in it. Instead, ask for advice from a tech-savvy friend. 

For a comprehensive guide to staying safe online, an easy read resource is available at www.mentalhealth.org.uk/learning-disabilties/publications/staying-safe-social-media-and-online.