Think Before You Click

communication technology Nov 18, 2022

The Internet has given us a lot of freedom regarding expression. We can instantly share our thoughts and ideas with the world, which sometimes is a good thing. But there are also times when we must be careful about what we say and do online because our words and actions can have serious consequences. This blog post will discuss some things you need to consider before posting or clicking on the Internet.

It's a vast world out there.

People have two forms of communication nowadays: public communication in real life and virtual communication online. Of particular concern is online communication through the Internet because of its vast space and allowing anybody to communicate with anyone from anywhere in the world. We used to be able to speak and interact only with people in front of us and our immediate physical surroundings. Now, borders have been breached, and it's possible to communicate with anyone, regardless of where they are in the world. People also have various means and options to communicate digitally through technological innovations like cell phones and computers. In addition, people can interact using multiple means like messaging applications, social media posts, website comments, video messaging, etc. With this wide array of options to communicate online, people also gained the ability to interact with others using various media like posts, videos, and pictures, aside from traditional messages.

When communicating with others in real life, there is this idea of thinking before you speak. It essentially means pausing before we say something to ensure we are not hurting somebody with our words and that we talk about the truth or something that can benefit others. The same idea can also apply when posting or saying anything online. We must be more careful when communicating with people online because digital communication has a broader reach than real-life communication. As users of such technologies and means of communicating digitally, we must be responsible for what we say or post online. So before you type or click anything on your phone or computer, it's a good idea to know several reasons why you may want to think twice before saying or posting anything online.

1. There's a larger audience out there that can read and see your posts or messages.

What you post and say on websites has a far wider reach compared to when you are speaking to people in real life, unless you are doing a public speaking session in front of many people. Of course, you never know who and how many will see your posts and messages online, but one thing is sure: anyone can quickly and easily see what you say online. So think carefully before you post or say anything online, as practically anybody can be your audience for whatever you say. Of course, there are options for limiting who can see your posts, such as only your friends. However, if you are about to post or say something you are only comfortable telling people you know, don't turn it into a public spectacle and set it privately.

2. It isn't easy to take back what you post or say online

It is possible to delete or edit messages you say online. However, there is always the possibility that somebody may have already archived or saved an earlier version of what you posted or displayed. If you have posted something by mistake, somebody can use it against you if they have a copy of your older messages or posts. So think carefully before hitting that send button, and review what you are about to say or post online. It can get easy to get carried away and type immediately what's in your mind, especially if you are angry or distressed by reading something that irritates you. Calm down, type, and post only when your mind is clear and rational.

3. What you see online may not be the truth

Not everything that you see online depicts the truth. For example, the profiles and posts of people on social media may be carefully crafted to create a good impression online, and some may be exaggerations. What people say online may not be what they mean or is vague. It can be challenging to discern people's true intentions when communicating online, as you can't fully see the whole person in front of you. Just because somebody types in all caps don't mean they are already angry; it could be something else or just a preferred style of typing. Try to be more evaluative when reading what others say online, and don't judge immediately.

Another aspect where thinking before you click applies is when browsing websites on the Internet. The Internet is like a giant playground for people to create websites and post about various things. However, the amount of policing and regulation is not absolute, and you may encounter suspicious information and websites. Therefore, clicking on anything and anywhere is not good practice when traversing the Internet. Furthermore, people with bad intentions lurk on the Internet, and you may fall for scams, data breaches, phishing, or identity theft if you are not careful where you click. Therefore, educating yourself on how to protect yourself from such evil acts online is a good idea. For example, type your personal information only on secure websites, and don't open suspicious e-mails from unknown senders, especially those constructed with poor grammar and spelling. Also, don't just click on ads that keep popping up on websites. Some may lead to sketchy websites or install malware and viruses on your computer or phone. There are various pieces of information out there that helps educate people on how to keep themselves safe when communicating and traversing the digital world, so read on them to keep your accounts safe.

4. People can easily misinterpret or judge what they see online

Since much information we see online may not be accurate, we can easily misunderstand what others say or what we read. In addition, we may not know the whole story behind posts and messages, and people will often judge what they see online. So if you are about to post or say something that can cause misunderstandings, it's better to keep silent and not say or post anymore to avoid receiving judgments from people. Conflicts can arise from people misunderstanding what somebody says, and things can get blown out of proportion. So better avoid posting or saying anything online unless it is essential.

Hold that finger or mouse down before clicking.

It's effortless to post or say whatever we want online. People can become more confident and courageous to type whatever they want to say without concern if others are affected. One can hide behind a screen and preserve anonymity. This idea is perhaps why many people can act rude and aggressive when interacting with others online. Hardly anyone is policing things and enforcement of regulations, if there are any, is minimal. Still, acting rudely online can reflect your behavior, and it's still better to maintain discipline, honesty, and respect when communicating with others in the digital world. One must be aware of what they are doing to develop the habit of thinking before clicking to post whatever one may want to say online. Think about how your posts can affect people and treat the digital world as if the person you are talking to is right there in front of you in the physical world. It's also vital that you ensure your privacy doesn't get compromised by avoiding sharing too much private info that may not necessarily be needed to be seen by others. We should be responsible for using our technological capabilities to communicate online.

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