Protecting oneself on the internet is something that I'm highly passionate about. There are so many ways to get into big trouble within our online interactions that I've made it a personal mission to understand the true nature of the dangers out there.
This is the world that my children are growing up in. They have never known a life when the internet didn't exist. Social media in its various forms has become a massive part of the way they're expected to interact with the world at large, and it's my job, as their mother, to ensure that they know how to navigate this internet-based world safely.
With the increase in internet dependency within our daily lives, there are certain questions that have started to leak to the surface of my consciousness. Almost everything that we do is now online, with very few exceptions.
Sure, you have social media, YouTube and blogs, and TV through the internet means that we can watch what we want to watch when we want to watch it. However, you also have online banking, and you can buy your groceries online. I can pay for my car registration and file my taxes online. I order replacement gas bottles for the house through an app on my phone and I can report issues regarding water leaks or other hazards in my neighborhood using a different app.
My children are expected to submit their homework assignments online. They are even required to sit major exams using online tools. When they were still in high school, I got their report cards sent to me through an online website.
My husband gets his payslips online, and I get paid by overseas clients through online services. Even my royalty checks come in through online payments.
Everything about our world has shifted to online.
New Zealand, as a whole, has become a near cashless society, with EftPos found almost everywhere you go. Those payments go through the internet. Sure, I do have some cash in my wallet, but not much. Everything of importance is bought and paid for using online means.
Yes, this shift to an internet-based society has, for the most part, made our lives easier, but has it really made it safer?
How has this push to doing everything online affected our sense of privacy and security?