How to better manage your digital life

Anuradha Udunuwara, from the BCS Internet Specialist Group, provides some common sense advice on how to safely manage your digital life.

The third industrial revolution or the digital revolution that started in 1950s, included the personal computer, the internet and information and communications technology (ICT) in general. It was mostly about computers and automation. The fourth industrial revolution, sometimes referred to as Industry 4.0 started around 2015 and is built on the digital revolution. It is mainly about cyber physical systems, including, but not limited to, internet of things (IoT), cloud computing and cognitive computing. With the digital revolution, especially with the Internet, connectedness and computing devices (including smart mobile phones), the whole world has gone through (or is still going through) a massive change in multiple directions; economic, social, political etc. The changes forced on individuals are extraordinary. Our lives, with or without our knowledge, have come to associate more with digital engagements. It has almost come to a situation where many of us are webbed to the World Wide Web (WWW). Let’s look at some of the things that we can do to manage the situation, at least to a certain extend.

Take social media. The popular ones include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. While it’s an individual’s choice to what extend one shares their personal information online, almost all the social media platforms allow a fair amount of control that you can use, based on your requirements. For example, you can have the self-discipline of not getting into the illusion of unlimited friending/followings/connections/subscriptions coming in the form of recommendations, suggestions etc. derived from today’s big data and analytics capabilities. You can really decide whom to be friends with, whom to follow, subscribe to or connect with. May be it’s time for you to review your long lists to filter out some of the unnecessary entries. There are some free tools available for this type of screening, especially for twitter. If not you can still do it manually. If you are bombarded with notifications/news from social media, you can unfollow some of the entries, while still keeping the friendship/connection.

Some of the social media sites and other online services like Google, request that you share your location information. If you really think, it’s not going to be of any benefit, you can simply disable sharing your location information. You can also delete your already collected location information, location reviews, photos of location etc., if you want. If you are disturbed by the chat applications like Viber, WhatsApp, Google chat, Facebook messenger etc., you can review them as well. For example, you can mute or delete groups which you think are of no use. You can also think of removing the unnecessary apps in your mobile phone.

If you get promotional short message services (SMSs) from your mobile service provider or other partners, you can unsubscribe them as well. Some of the mobile service providers allow you to do the changes via a web portal or using SMS, or you can simply call them and ask to stop the SMSs. Most of the promotional SMSs from third parties also provide an opt-out option/method.

While almost all the digital services provide the required controls for us, due to our ignorance, we tend not to bother about them and as a result we become prey of them. With a little consciousness, we can ease our lives and still use digital services with real effectiveness, efficiency and productivity.

About this blog

This blog is brought to you by the members of the BCS Internet Specialist Group and allows you to harness their skills, expertise and knowledge. The internet is ubiquitous and has a major impact on our daily lives, at work, at home on the move. The associated risks and security concerns are real, but the magic and advantages of the internet are significant.

See all posts by Internet Specialist Group
December 2018
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