Dr Colin Thakur, Director of the iNeSi e-Skills CoLab at DUT and digital activist, this week delivered a talk on the appropriate use of social media and the internet during which he shared some handy tips on the do’s and don’ts of online communication, be it via email, social media or when surfing the internet.
Dr Thakur has a PhD in ICT for which he developed a multi-modal voting model and voter validation to leverage the ubiquity of mobile devices as a voting tool.
Dr Thakur’s talk, which formed part of the eThekwini Municipality’s Imagine Durban and Safer Cities Department Open Forum: KNOW YOUR VULNERABILITY AND CLOSE THE GAP AGAINST CYBER CRIMES covered many aspects of online communication, including email etiquette, safety and privacy on social media as well as digital obsession, with reports indicating that South Korea is battling with a fixation on anything digital.
“They now have places where people can detox digitally. Keep an eye on your children to make sure that they don’t use their devices more than they have to,” warned Dr Thakur.
He also urged attendees to be mindful of what they post on social media, saying this could have negative repercussions in future. “All of us have views. We all have prejudices within us. However, if you have those prejudices, keep them hidden and be careful about sharing them on social media. If you must share them, do so in a closed group setting with like minded people. Ranting online isn’t recommended”, he said.
He also offered some useful tips on email etiquette. “You are your spoken self. What you write is an instantaneous representation of yourself. Be careful how you communicate. When you send an invite to people, bcc (blind copy) them so as to protect their email addresses. If copied in an email, don’t respond unless you are required to do so. Another useful tip is to go through your sent items every now and then and check if everything that you committed to has been followed through by you. If you receive a nasty email, keep in from escalating by not responding in kind,” he said.
On Whatsapp, he urged attendees to turn off their “last seen” setting so as to ensure privacy.
Dr Thakur’s other expert tips:
– Check your content billing on your cellphone as you may be paying for services that are not useful to you or never signed up for.
– Avoid phishing by not giving away personal information, especially regarding your bank accounts, online.
– The best way to deal with a cyber bully is to simply ignore them “because no one wants to play with someone who won’t play. Chances are they will end up going to another victim”.
Pictured: Dr Colin Thakur.