Adulthood is a word that is loaded with several meanings especially in cultures in which the term is used to denote responsibilities and societal expectations. Over time, adults have been perceived as the custodian of knowledge, people who are “supposed to know” certain things. But things are quite different in the digital world as we all need to be life-long learners here.
It is no doubt that technological advancement is growing at a pace that is hard for many of us to keep up with. From accessing essential services such as telemedicine to the struggle of keeping up with the Joneses on social media and the need to remember dozens of passwords and security questions, we all know that the digital world requires some mental energy. New issues are springing up every day about what life in the digital world looks like. Discussion around digital skills and internet safety are becoming very critical at this point. Therefore, the following points highlight what is important for adults to do in our tech-savvy world:
- Review your digital footprint: Does that sound too techy? You do not have to break a sweat to do this. Just type your name on a search engine like Google and find out all that you have on you online. You need to know what is out there about you. Are the things you are proud of today and would be proud of in the next few years? By reviewing your digital footprint, you get an idea of the kind of information anyone in the global world can find about you. This practice has had impacts on people’s careers and other life relationships.
- Know that the internet remembers: This is closely linked with your digital footprint. You must be careful about the kind of information you share online especially on social media channels. You cannot be sure of the reach of the posts as you do not know who has saved them. As a result, do not put things out there that you might take back. You cannot swallow your words on social media as the internet always remembers.
- Choose what you need, not what is available: We have such inundating options of social media platforms and mobile applications that it is hard to make choices. You should ask yourself important questions on the needs you want to fulfil online. You do not have to be present on all social media platforms or download all kinds of mobile apps you find available. Choose the ones that serve your most pressing needs.
- Seek digital safety: It is disgusting to find out that one of your social media accounts have been hacked. This has happened to many people in recent times. Hence, you must seek digital safety by taking necessary precautions such as activating the two-step verification and safe-guarding your passwords.
- Maintain a good offline reputation: Some people will meet you first online before meeting you in person. Therefore, you need to maintain a good reputation offline. There are people whose social media accounts were hacked and they got to know because of their offline contacts who reached out to them to notify them. When people know the kind of person you are offline, they can easily tell that your accounts have been hacked when they see ridiculous posts from your social media accounts.
To sum up, the digital world is one in which we all still have a lot to learn. There is no adulthood here. Ask for help if you need help to navigate the murky waters of the digital world.