Digital Diet

No, sorry its not a food diet unfortunately its a digital consumption diet. Maybe not quite the same but they do have similarities.

Dietitians have a saying that you are what you eat. Well, that’s pretty much what happens with your digital diet only the difference is you are what you digitally consume. If we eat the wrong things to a point of excess it can directly impact on our health and wellbeing. The same applies to your digital consumption. If you spend excessive amounts of time consuming digital information it can affect your mental and physical wellbeing.

Lets take a closer look at what we mean.

What is a Digital Diet

A digital diet is simply about creating a more balanced approach to the way you use technology. You may not need a strict digital diet but you certainly need to be more aware of how technology influences your actions. It is important to understand that all digital devices have the capacity to become addictive its the way they are designed.

Children are especially vulnerable to excessive use of technology. Their brains are not fully formed and they can struggle with the amount of  information passing though their minds. If you are a parent its important to regulate not only the time your kids spend online but many are unclear just how much time should kids spend online? Click on the link for  advice on how much time your children should spend online.

Parents should be mindful that their actions will impact on the digital behaviour of their kids. Use our free digital parent guide to help you lay down some ground rules and routines. Part of the routine will include establishing a parent/child contract on how and when they can access their digital devices.

Why a Digital Diet is Important

As you spend more time online you will start to create your own digital footprint so its important to know how to manage it and how it impacts on your future. This is something children are often unaware of and why adults should be vigilant of their use.

To cope with the information overload we should learn how to create Positive Digital Habits so we have some space each day free from digital influence.

The internet is awash with cognitive bias and depending on our beliefs or moods we can get caught up the hysteria of fake news. Learn some simple steps to determine fake news and keep you cognitive bias in check. The media love to sensationalise everything and create a headline that catches your attention. Even better the internet allows them to use algorithms to push those headline into your news feed to create all the anxiety you cold wish for.

Today we consume around 74 GB of information a day. If we go back to renaissance in the 1500’s that was a life times study. We cannot possibly process and retain that information in a day. Instead we filter that information picking out our favourite bits or rather bits of information that suit our mood. If you consume lots of depressing material then your mind will most likely concentrate on the worst. You are then at risk of becoming what you consume.

Add that to the constant pressure of information overload, social media stress, FOMO, it all just builds up and leaves the user at risk of developing anxiety and/or impulsive behaviours. Internet addiction is real, but there are ways we can manage this with a little more awareness.

We can’t make the internet go away and to be honest why should we! There are just so many positive things about the internet such as

  • Sharing information, knowledge and learning
  • connectivity and communication across the world
  • Address, mapping, and contact information
  • Selling and making money
  • Banking, bills, and shopping
  • Donations and funding
  • Entertainment

We do, however need to be more aware of what the internet is or rather what it has become. Original created by US Military to allow seamless communication between military installations even during times of war provided much of the structure but the internet as we know today did not arrive until the 1990’s.

Tim Berners-Lee, a computer programmer from Switzerland, created the World Wide Web in the early 1990′”s. Back then the internet was basically a place where you could send and retrieve files, and share information. In 1992 the first web browser was developed and later that year the internet turned commercial.

The desire for profit has been the driving force behind the development of the internet ever since. For businesses to profit they need to have some influence. To do this they need customer knowledge, which today is pretty easy to obtain. Companies, like Facebook and Google, follow you around the internet analysing your internet habits to work out what your next purchase will be. They can then target you with personalised adverts.

These apps are with you 24/7 and they know exactly how to hook you into their web. Google and Facebook are specialists at this and probably know more about you than your family. For all its positive points the internet is addictive and most businesses know this.

On a positive note with addiction awareness is often the key. The more we become aware of the addictive traits the more we can lessen the impact and to build positive internet experiences.

Positive digital habits

  • You have in plans in place to limit the time your children spend online. Use our plan here.
  • You are able to identify the main traits of internet addiction.
  • You have created a set of digital family rules which apply to all members of the family have agreed and signed their digital contract.
  • You are aware of how digital devices disrupt your Childs learning and concentration and have  taken steps to improve you childs concentration. Get your free parent/child contract
  • To improve concentration you don’t multitask, no checking emails or social media news feeds. You practice total concentration on one task for a set time or until the tasks is complete. All family members, especially children are encouraged to practice this.
  • You liaise with school to ensure your child is adhering to the digital contract they signed.
  • You are aware that children will hide inappropriate apps and have taken steps to research how they do this.
  • You have built a technology relationship of trust with your children.
  • You understand the need for human communication and take an interest in your children’s internet use. Its agreat way to learn about your children’s internet experience. You discuss appropriate use with them and encourage them to discuss any issues they may have. Not everything they experience is positive and sometimes they may have difficulty telling you. Trust is the key to create a positive digital environment. Use our free digital parent guide.

Digital Footprint

If you need a good reason to develop positive digital habits then keep reading.

When you go online you leave a digital trace or footprint of your activity. It doesn’t go away and it follows you around collecting everything you do. Poor choices can come back to haunt you. Just look a the amount of high profile stars and politician that have published their thoughts online thinking they are safe in the past only to have someone dig them up many years later to publish them causing public embarrassment. Some people have been known to lose their jobs because of their online activity.

There are two main classifications for digital footprints: passive and active. A passive digital footprint is created when data is collected without the owner knowing, whereas active digital footprints are created when personal data is released deliberately by a user for the purpose of sharing information about oneself by means of websites or social media.

  • Passive digital footprints can be stored in many ways depending on the situation. In an online environment a footprint may be stored in an online data base as a “hit”. This footprint may track the user IP address, when it was created, and where they came from; with the footprint later being analyzed. In an offline environment, a footprint may be stored in files, which can be accessed by administrators to view the actions performed on the machine, without being able to see who performed them.
  • Active digital footprints can also be stored in many ways depending on the situation. In an online environment, a footprint can be stored by a user being logged into a site when making a post or change, with the registered name being connected to the edit. In an off line environment a footprint may be stored in files, when the owner of the computer uses a keylogger, so logs can show the actions performed on the machine, and who performed them. One of the features of keylogger is to monitor the clipboard for any changes. This may be problematic as the user may copy passwords or take screenshots of sensitive information which will then be logged.

What type of footprint you build will depend on what you post and what you leave behind. Please be mindful that once you post something in the public domain it is virtually impossible to delete it.

Finding your digital footprint is the starting point to discover your digital habits. Do a Google search for your name, then image search. Remember to try alternative spellings of your name.

Here are 5 things you can do to reduce your digital footprint

  1. Keep a log of sites you joined and delete the accounts you no longer use. Protect your personal data from being sold off.
  2. Make sure your social media accounts are secure. Always a good idea to regularly check your privacy is turned on.
  3. Do a regular clean of your browsing data its an online record of where you have been and helps sites to track you.
  4. Clearing your browsing data and cache can be helpful to avoid websites tracking you.
  5. Use an anti tracking tool or a VPN to mask your internet activity.

for more information on this go to thecyberhelpline.com

Be mindful of what post online if someone is trying to track you, your post of your day out with a location map just gave them the answer!

Free digital Footprint download