The nine traits of digital citizenship is an inclusive framework for discussing life online, but there are simpler ways to express the goals of digital citizenship as it applies to most people on a daily basis. The video (below) shows how one teacher communicates the core of it to his elementary class: good digital citizens act safely, responsibly, and respectfully online.
Part of acting safely means controlling how and when your personal information is used online. Very few people live totally off the grid, with no online presence. If you have a bank account, a credit card, or have utilities through a commercial provider, your information is online even if you have never logged into the web site. Being a member of society today comes with a certain amount of transparent risk. However, those sites stake their reputation on their online security and work to keep the risk as low as possible. One of the best ways you can insure that your information is protected is to have strong passwords to the accounts you use online, and to change those passwords occasionally. General hints include the following:
- The longer the password, the better. Consider a phrase, then turn some letters into numbers (a 3 instead of an E, a 1 in place of an L or I, for instance).
- Have uppercase, lower case, and numbers in the password, and if the site allows it, a symbol.
- If two step verification is possible, do that. It’s an extra layer of protection.
- Ideally, do not use the same password for more than one site.
- Do not write your passwords on a piece of paper that is kept near the computer.
For more hints on password safety, check out this article from c/net. Note that it includes links to a variety of other articles relating to account safety, as well.
TODAY’S SUGGESTION: How secure are your passwords? When was the last time you changed them? Go through the accounts you use regularly and change the passwords for any accounts that have not been changed in a while. Make sure that your new passwords are strong!