What teenagers need to know about CyberSecurity

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What teenagers need to know about CyberSecurity

28 Feb | Source: : Oswaal Books Editorial Board | Join the Discussion

Dear Students,

I am glad to introduce you to this comprehensive course book which has the potential to transform an average student into an achiever. Providing exhaustive coverage and revised as per the latest syllabus prescribed by CBSE guidelines, this book is designed to improve your understanding of concepts and computer application skills, while helping you to gain practical knowledge and cybersecurity measures.

Digitization of our everyday lives has created security vulnerabilities everywhere, even within the comfort of our homes.

With its millions of web sites and thousands of social media platforms and Apps, there’s never really been any medium like the World Wide Web! The Internet is like an ‘information superhighway’ or a ‘Global Bulletin Board’, where things change at the blink of an eye.

The misunderstanding that nothing in this dynamic environment is permanent further leads to a misconception. It makes the Internet seem like a safe haven, anonymity, and impermanence adding to its fake aura, but actually, the opposite is true. As a naive user, you tend to overlook the fact that whatever you post on the Internet stays on the Internet and that it’s far more permanent than you can imagine - a simple fact with deep ramifications.

Once information is online and it spreads, then it is impossible to have all copies removed. It’s like putting something on the school notice board and going back after a while to remove it - once your content has been seen and shared by even one single person, you can never definitively stop the spread of that information from the knowledge base of the cyber community.

Let’s understand that sharing information online is not a bad thing, especially if you are using the experience to spread good things or reach out to long lost friends. In fact, the Internet is great for sharing. The peril is that - unlike a chalkboard that you can write on and erase at will, the Internet has no ‘delete’ button. With this perspective in mind, you should always pause before you post.

Besides causing major embarrassment and ruining relationships, online lapses in judgment can cost people their career and jobs. In fact, many universities and companies now perform online background checks to track the digital footprints of prospective candidates. If they find offensive and adverse comments posted on blogs, sexually explicit photos or videos, photos that show drug abuse or an excessive fondness for automatic weapons, the application is rejected outright.

Information which people thought was private doesn’t always become public, through the machinations of predators and hackers. Often its people’s own misunderstanding of the nature of digital communication and so the best way to protect yourself is by developing your digital consciousness.

Though the Internet seems like a magical entity capable of answering obscure questions, providing a huge platform to network and an amazing source of entertainment, you may be completely oblivious to viruses, online privacy, phishing, social networking etiquette and other internet safety or security issues – all of which have been explained in depth in this book.

Unfortunately, this tiny gateway that has given us unlimited, instant access to information is also turning out to be a breeding ground for bullies, pedophiles, unethical activities and cybercrime. Dating and social networking sites allow people to make new connections but also harbor risks such as ‘stranger danger’, identity theft, cyberbullying and abuse.

The Internet can bridge cultural gaps or create a digital divide. It can fuel one’s creativity or tempt one to cheat. In fact, the Internet is commonly blamed for encouraging students to violate Intellectual Property Rights and indulge in plagiarism, i.e. using someone else’s words and ideas in a submission and passing it as one’s own original work. Depending on the severity of plagiarism, a student may be dismissed from the class, suspended or even face expulsion.

Another harsh reality is that we have become slaves of the very technology that was meant to free us. From smartphones to laptops, one click is never enough. You start, but you can’t seem to stop! After a while, living a virtual life becomes preferred over the actual one, probably because it is easier to get desired results in the online realm.

More and more people, especially teenagers, are becoming prisoners of their virtual lives -too hooked to leave the house, yet too obsessed to focus on studies or high priority tasks. Technology feeds their loneliness and the toxic comparison between real and virtual hollows meaning from their lives. No wonder ‘Internet Addiction’ has been recognized as a ‘disorder’ by WHO and the numbers of sufferers seeking help for ‘technology addiction’ is sharply on the rise.

This book is a guide offering solutions which are bound to help you both academically and personally.

Wishing you success in the classroom, in examinations and in every competition of life…..

Curated by Pooja Malhotra

A cyber safety counselor by profession and a writer by choice, Pooja Malhotra, has been actively using the power of her words, spoken and written, to encourage young netizens to ‘be safe in cyberspace’. Her workshops on Internet Safety are as popular as her articles, which have been published in leading national newspapers, magazines and various online publications.

Besides being the author of a popular children’s book titled “Be Safe in Cyberspace”, Pooja is also an advisory member at the National Cyber Security and Safety Standards.

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