Internet Street Smarts Tip: Use 'real world' common sense

First in a series of short tips on internet safety.

Although the lines are blurring rapidly, we live in a duality of worlds. One is the "real world" that we are born into; another is the "digital world" that augments and increasingly affects the very fabric of our culture.

Growing up in Japan I didn’t go through a formal municipality-sponsored training like Safety Town yet I wouldn’t doubt that every culture introduces street smarts as part of early childhood education. I do recall the constant stream of reminders from my parents and teachers on topics such as not going with strangers.

Through these constant reminders, and support systems like Safety Town, children start building good "habits” – habits that will keep them safe. From childhood to adolescence and through the rite of passage to adulthood, we continue to cultivate good habits.

Citizenship in the Digital World, which is something one really doesn’t have a choice but to be a part of, requires similar amassing of good habits to minimize the risk of being victimized.

So the inaugural Internet Street Smarts tip is this: The gray matter between your ears is the single most powerful tool you possess as it is where good habits are cultivated.

Although the utility of other tools will be covered in subsequent tips, your brain is the most important tool that you own and train. It is the “super tool” above all other tools to build street smartness for the Digital World, aka Internet Street Smarts.

The litmus test of “Would I do the same in the Real World?” should help you. For example will you put a sign up on your front lawn with your date of birth or when you’ll go on vacation to Paris? Such parallels should make you think twice before posting too much information on social media in the Digital World.

Remember that there always is a corollary in the Real World when you question your actions in the Digital World.

Tak Sato

Business and technology strategist/consultant with 25 years of experience. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and MBA from Cleveland State University.

As founder of geek with a heart consulting, "Hand-holding You in the Digital World", Tak helps Individuals, Seniors, Families, Small Businesses, Schools, and Non-Profits utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives.

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Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 9:33 AM, 04.21.2015