Technology has become a huge part of our society and it is something many of us rely on today, even as Scouts. Since we spend so much time on our cellular devices, it is important to know how to use them correctly in order to keep you, your privacy and your phone safe.
We all have personal information on our phones that we don’t want to share with everyone such as our address, passwords to other accounts like our social media channels and bank accounts, and more. To stop people from accessing your phone without your permission, setting up an entry password or using the fingerprint scanner—if your phone has that feature—is the first step toward using your phone securely and wisely.
While using devices, stay conscious and aware of your surroundings. Big crowds can lead to higher chances of your phone getting stolen. By putting away your phones in a closed pocket or bag when it is not in use, risks can be avoided. Although keeping devices secure is important, staying safe is even more so!
Don’t let your phone take up all of your attention—this can lead to dangerous situations. In 2015, Toronto police indicated that in all of 2015’s vehicle-on-pedestrian accidents leading to fatality in the city, roughly half of the incidents were the fault of the pedestrian.
How many times have you had your eyes glued to the screen while crossing streets, or seen someone almost step into traffic because they were looking down at their phone?
Questions to consider throughout the day as you use your devices are:
- Do I really need to use it now or can I wait until I get home?
- Can I hear what is going on around me?
- Am I possibly putting myself or someone else’s life in danger by using my device?
Another area to be mindful of when it comes to using our devices is the type of information you share with others. For example, on the application Snapchat, you can choose who you want to send a photo to as well as how long they will be able to see it for. Sometimes it can be great to share pictures of our experiences with others but at the same time, we need to think before we send or post a picture for others to see. This is important because once we put or send something online, it is out there forever. There’s no taking it back.
Another app to be cautious when sharing through is Whatsapp. We may think that we are able to delete a message from the conversation, however, that does not guarantee that it is gone for good. The recipient can easily save the picture or screenshot it, and sometimes the pictures are even automatically downloaded to the recipient’s phone.
The Internet is very useful, entertaining and easy to access but it is important to know its dangers in order to keep yourself safe. By changing the settings on your profile to ‘private’ you can choose who sees your posts. By doing this you will avoid strangers from ‘creeping’ on you.
Don’t forget, people can easily pretend to be someone they are not and you can end up talking to a stranger if you’re not careful. To avoid this from happening, only accept friend requests on social media from the people you know in real life. This also goes for who you give your phone number to.
Furthermore, meeting up with someone you met online can be dangerous. If you decide to meet up, never go alone. Always take a trusted adult with you and meet in a public place.
When we are using our devices we should always remember to be respectful in the cyber world, just as we are in-person in Scouts. Bullying can happen anywhere, in many forms and for different reasons. Cyberbullying in particular is the latest social challenge, given how much we use social media and email. Bullying is unacceptable in life, and especially in Scouts. If you or someone you know is experiencing bullying, our Safe Scouting has a list of tips to help you address the situation and find support.
By limiting the amount of details we put online about ourselves, or share through our personal devices over text or other apps, the safer we are. When we post personal details about ourselves like where we live and go to school or any pictures of ourselves, just remember, it’s like putting it on a billboard for everyone to see. It’s great to share online and stay connected through personal devices, but like anything, fun is best enjoyed safely.
For more safety tips on staying safe on the Internet, check out this guide from our Safe Scouting team.