Is Private Browsing Private?

As the digital age, we have all been in a situation where we are logging into our email account and we have been prompted to a “2 step verification” to make sure that we are indeed the person that is meant to be accessing that account. These are steps put in place by many social sites today to help protect the privacy of its users, but does that mean our content is private?

Although we are given options to manage our privacy through our phones, computers, and social media accounts that doesn’t mean our content is protected from everyone. As consumers we must take into account that simply by using certain websites we are giving them the right to collect data based on the way we interact with the site. With this being said, it is basically inevitable to be completely protected from everything on the web. There have been numerous instances of not only Facebook, but the Federal Government being accused of reading through messages on their user’s accounts, and not to mention the many times’ Government information has been leaked. In June of 2019, The Pew Research Center claimed that 70% of Americans felt that their personal information was less secure than it was 5 years ago, and 25% of the adults in the U.S. are asked to agree to a privacy policy daily.

“Privacy on the internet? Thats an oxymoron.”

Cathrine Butler

We can’t run from the government, and the way they choose to collect data, but there are ways to be safe and secure against privacy threats online. The most effective way to protect yourself online is through a virtual private network (VPN), which allows you to browse on a private network rather than a public network. This safety precaution will help ensure that you don’t cross paths with hackers. Another simple step to help secure yourself online is to keep your system up to date and to use safe browsing techniques. Make sure that you are continuously checking for device and system updates to help make sure that you have the most current system of virus protection. In addition, adjusting your browser privacy settings will help prevent viruses and hackers from taking your information.

As a generation of technology, it is important to teach people, primarily the younger generations, about how to practice safe web searching. We know that kids are introduced to technology when they enter school, if not before. Studies show 7 out of 10 children in grades 4-8 have a cellphone. Personally as a child when I worked with technology in school, I was never talked to about being safe, and protecting myself online. As a society I think we could change the way that others view and project technology by teaching the generations above and below us how to use the safety features available.

To educate others around us, don’t be afraid to talk about it. Keeping the generations above us educated on website security is one of the most valuable tools we can use. With their knowledge they then have the power to educate their children and others around them. By educating adults we make them aware of the dangers but the statistics surrounding the places children venture online. Parents can adjust their parental controls which are a group of settings that put you in control of what your child can see, on their devices and it turns out 9 out of 10 that use them find them to be beneficial. These controls alone will not fully prevent children from running into content that might not be appropriate, so talking to them and educating them about the dangers of the internet is equally as important. You can also monitor a child’s activity, protect your child’s identity, prevent cyberbullying and promote positive online interactions.

There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the web, but it is not something that we are facing alone. Educating ourselves and others with the information that we do have is key to understanding and building new technology.