The internet is an essential part of our daily lives. We use it to work, study, shop, and connect with others globally. However, while the net has many benefits, it also presents some risks that can impact our mental health. Some of our biggest concerns for many users are how much of what we’re doing online is shared and who can access that information. According to Forbes, a Prosper Insights & Analytics Survey found that 62.3% of Internet users don’t like social media, apps and search engines taking their personal and online information. These users, like you, want to know when surfing the net that it’s not easy for just anyone to get the skinny on internet habits and history. This article will explore online safety secrets for a healthier mind so your stress and anxiety is reduced while your surfing.
Online Safety Improves Your Mental Health–Image by Pixaby on Pexels.com
The Risks Of The Online World
The internet can be a dangerous place, and it’s essential to be aware of the risks that can affect your mental health. Some of the risks include:
- Cyberbullying is online bullying that can significantly impact mental health and lead to depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts. Amy “Dolly” Everett, known as the ‘Akubra girl’ is one of many who have felt the impact of cyberbullying.
- Online predators are people that create fictitious online identities to gain the trust of others that are vulnerable so that they can exploit them for personal gain. It’s estimated that more than 500,000 online predators are active daily in the U.S.
- Exposure to violent or disturbing content found online can trigger anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Many studies show a strong association between exposure to violence and aggressive or violent thoughts, emotions, and behaviour in those exposed.
- Scams and frauds can lead to financial loss and cause stress and anxiety. The Australian government estimated that more than 13.2 million people are exposed to scams and frauds annually, which results in the loss of millions.
The Impact Of Online Safety On Mental Health
Lack of online safety can lead to stress, anxiety, low self-esteem and confidence, a lack of trust, negative relationships and unhealthy behaviours, all, of which, can erode your mental health. However, you can promote better mind health by:
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Knowing that you’re safe online can help reduce stress and anxiety.
- Boosting self-esteem and confidence
- Avoiding online bullying and harassment can help increase self-esteem and confidence.
- Building trust and positive relationships
- By being safe online, you can build trust and positive relationships with others, which can improve your mental health.
- Promoting healthy behaviour
- Online safety promotes healthy behavior, such as limiting screen time and avoiding harmful content, which can improve your mental health.
Online Safety Secrets To Staying Safer Online
How incognito is incognito mode?
If you share a device with another person or you simply don’t want someone to inadvertently see what you’ve been looking at online, then you may make use of incognito mode, stealth mode, or a similar web browser feature associated with the device that you’re using. However, before using these it’s essential for you to know just how much privacy these modes offer. They will, for instance, make sure that sites and searches you’ve done in that mode won’t show up in the future, or appear on your search history. They do not, however, stop your ISP from seeing what you’ve been doing or hide your browsing activity from the browser that you’re using.
What are you sharing with sites?
If you’re looking to stop organizations like your ISP and big tech sites like Google from finding out too much, then you might be surprised by what they already know. There are guides on how to see what Google knows about you for a sobering touch of reality. The modern tool that offers the best protection against snooping, especially if you’re sharing personal data, is a VPN. Virtual private networks encrypt all data that you send and receive making it difficult for would-be digital eavesdroppers to see what you’ve been doing online. You can also set it to look like you’re a user from a different part of the world.
What about your apps?
It’s not all about your browsing, either. Apps found on your mobile, tablet and laptop also use and share information. Many of these apps will have perfectly legitimate and worthwhile use, such as self-care tech to help improve your health. But your browser and the websites you use produce data which is shared with the app’s creator. As such it’s essential for you to be mindful of what data your apps use, and check what permissions you have enabled for these apps. The more permissions you give these apps, the more information you’re sharing.
“Be Mindful Of Your Internet Use On A Computer, Tablet, Your Mobile & SMART TV—When You Log In From Any Device You Are Sharing Information.”INSHAPE NEWSFLASH
Tips For Staying Safe Online To Protect Your Mental Health
- Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication.
- Keep your personal information private and only share it with trusted sources.
- Use privacy settings on social media and adjust them to suit your needs.
- Be careful what you post online and consider how it may affect others.
- Don’t click on links or download attachments from unknown sources.
- Use reputable security software and keep it updated.
What to Do if You Experience Online Harassment or Bullying
If you experience online harassment or bullying, it’s essential to take action to protect your mental health. Here are some steps you can take:
- Block the person who is harassing you.
- Report the harassment to the website or platform where it’s occurring.
- Seek support from a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional.
- Consider talking to the police if the harassment is severe.
Online Safety Secrets For A Healthier Mind Key Takeaways
If you’re doing anything online, you’re creating a virtual information trail. You can take steps to obscure it and manage your privacy. But if you’re not, then don’t be surprised to find out that your online habits are not entirely secret.
Online safety is critical for protecting your mental health. Be aware of the risks and take steps to stay safe online. This strategy let’s you reduce stress and anxiety, boost your self-esteem, build positive relationships, and promote healthy behaviour.
Remember to take action if you experience online harassment or bullying and seek support if needed. By taking these steps, you can enjoy the benefits of the online world without compromising your mental health.
Want to know more about living your best life? Then drop the editor a line and suggest an article topic.
InShape News would love to hear from you 🙂
For similar content delivered weekly to your inbox, subscribe to our feed.
For daily updates on how to lead a happier, healthier lifestyle, follow us on social media: Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter
If you’re looking for more on fitness or health and wellness, then visit the InShape Online and Trixi to plan for better, more sustainable health, fitness & wellness.InShape News – ‘Live. Life. Healthy. Today. Tomorrow. Forever.’