A letter to my Niece: How to be Safe and Honorable in Today’s Media Ecosystem – Extra Credit


How to stay safe and protected on the Internet starts with cleaning, believe it or not. No matter what we do in this world, we will have to clean up something. Growing up, I had to clean my room, go through clothes and stuff, and throw it out or give it away. The Internet is no different. Cleaning up your dashboard and filing documents away is necessary to maintain space on your computer, tablet, and smartphone. We also have to clean up our app and site permissions for security purposes. The information and technology are changing so fast that your permissions need to protect your info.

Having a two-factor authentication  helps protect your online accounts from being compromised. A password is becoming easier to hack on its own. Having the second-factor pin code sent to your phone makes it harder to break into your account. It’s like wearing rubber gloves on your hands, and a mask on your face during COVID-19, its double protection.


Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on public wifi is a good idea. Using public wifi can open a can of worms that allow viruses and cause security breaches on your device. I have used VPN’s before; there is an annual fee for the service, but the added protection is worth the price. Backing up your files is a must. Losing your information is the worst feeling ever. Windows has built-in tools, and Mac’s have the time machine; both devices are invaluable. 

Watch out for Phishing and impersonations of other companies and services; this is called social engineering. Data thieves use links, emails, phone calls to breach security. Be suspicious and skeptical when using social media and the Internet; you never know who is trying to fool you into giving your information away.

Brussels Talking

How to honorably participate in social media begins with learning media literacy. “It is the ability to identify different types of media and understand the message that is being sent. There are text messages, memes, viral videos, social media, video games, advertising, and more.” (Common Sense Media) Understand that reason. Think critically. Question why.

Reynolds Journalism Institute

Use Fact-checkers on the information that you find on social media. Is this fact or someone’s opinion? Try to get your information from reputable news sources. Are there multiple stories about the subject? Use the same practices when you are posting information on the web. Make sure what you are sharing is accurate. 

Overall, when communicating on Social Media, be civil, courteous, and respectful. Be clear about what you are posting; leave no room for misinterpretation. The information that you post can follow you for a long time. So be wise and selective about the data you choose to post.


Common Sense Media.News and media literacy. Retrieved Oct. 5, 2020 https://www.commonsensemedia.org/news-and-media-literacy/what-is-media-literacy-and-why-is-it-important