Late last year The Wall Street Journal published an interesting story that we wanted to share with you. The article, featuring the results of a 2011 Associated Press-MTV poll, found that three in 10 young adults had experienced people wrongfully accessing their Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or other Internet accounts – nearly double the level seen in 2009.
The study was part of MTV’s A Thin Line, a campaign developed to help young people identify, respond to, and stop the spread of digital abuse in their lives. Although some teens might shrug off a stolen password or hacked account as a joke, the campaign is built on the premise there is a “thin line” between a harmless prank and something that could really cause damage to a young person’s reputation or general wellbeing.
If these numbers are any indication, now more than ever kids really need to be aware of the dangers of using shared computers in labs, dorms and even their homes, and always ensure they surf smartly and securely.
A few quick tips:
- Always ensure you log off any social networking or e-mail account before you leave the computer (don’t just close the browser!)
- Use passwords with superhero strength (containing a mix of numbers, capital and lowercase letters, as well as symbols)
- Change those passwords twice a year, and don’t use the same password for multiple accounts or share them with friends
In the poll, two-thirds of those who had been hacked said that the intrusion led them to change their e-mail, instant messaging or social networking password – and 25 per cent have deleted a social networking profile altogether: all, which could be avoided by smarter, safer Internet use.
In today’s fast-paced digital world, educating young people about the risks of the web is so important and something that should be on all of our minds. For more on the AP-MTV poll, head on over to The Wall Street Journal. For additional tips from the SurfEasy team on how to surf securely, click here.