What is online safety?
Keeping safe online means protecting yourself from incurring some type of negative outcome as a result of your online behavior. There can be a variety of potential negative outcomes or consequences that one can experience if they are not careful about how they conduct themselves while online.
Tips for online safety
For example, posting personal information online can lead to:
- Others accessing your information and making decisions or judgments about you, whether these judgments are accurate or not. This could include friends, coworkers, employers, or schools.
- Bullying, harassment, or stalking.
- Being accused of misconduct or other breach of a website or University policy.
- Libelous and/or slanderous information about you displayed in a public forum online.
- Fraud or identity theft.
The above links provide examples of cases where the technology we take for granted resulted in negative and even dangerous consequences. Many such incidents have seen a rise in recent years.
Technology is a great tool, and if it is used wisely, can be very useful and beneficial to our personal and academic lives. However, it is important to protect yourself while making use of the technology and online opportunities that are available.
Specifically, for members of an institution of higher education (students, staff, and faculty) it is important to keep in mind the following:
- You are a representative and/or affiliate of your university.
- You are held accountable for any information you post and can be subjected to discipline or other actions under university policies.
- Several intellectual property and copyright issues surround research and academic work.
Why is it important to know about online safety?
- Anything you post online is
- Even if you ‘delete’ or remove information, it may be archived in cyberspace (cached on search engine servers, held on social media site archives) and could be accessed at a later date, by an audience you may not anticipate (potential employers for example).
- You are accountable for what you post
- Institutional jurisdiction
- Many organizations or agencies can access this information.
- Violations of policies and procedures of these institutions, including those at the University of Manitoba, can be subject to discipline action.
- People can be harmed online in the same way that they can be harmed in person.
- For example, email messages or web blogs can contain offensive or harassing information. Social media sites that involve posting of personal information, photos, and videos can also result in the negative outcomes described above.
- Institutional jurisdiction
Therefore, it is important that everyone know how to keep safe when using the internet and online resources. We have included some helpful tips and resource information to assist you with keeping safe online.
Specific tips and strategies
- If you post content or hold an account on a social media site, know the privacy settings and terms/conditions of that site.
- Before you post content on publicly accessible pages, consider whether you would still be posting this information if you knew it would be displayed to an audience of professors, friends, family, employers etc.
- Be careful not to post sensitive information about yourself or others in online public sites. Examples of sensitive information include your personal phone number, address, your UofM student number, the name of the bank you use, or other personal information.
- Obtain permission before you post content about other people (friends, etc.)
- Try “Googling” your own name to find out what is publicly available about you online already. This will give you an idea of the content that you can have control over.
- Become familiar with the UofM policies on student conduct.
If you know or suspect that there has been an on‐line security related incident involving you or another member of the university community, please note the following resources:
- Security Services
- Student Advocacy
- Information Services and Technology (IST)
- Misuse or abusive behavior using UofM computer accounts or facilities may be reported by email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
- IST provides the following examples of computer security related incidences:
- Suspicions that your account is being used by someone else.
- Harassing email.
- Viruses/email hoaxes/phishing scams.
- Incidents in the open‐area computer labs.
- Copyright violations.
Resources and Contacts
- Information Services and Technology has created a web page entitled Social Media Security.
- The Office of Human Rights and Conflict Management is responsible for the Respectful Work and Learning Environment Policy at the University of Manitoba. This policy helps to create an environment where all members of the University community can work and study free from harassment and discrimination of any kind.
- Student Advocacy is available to assist students who need to make a complaint, or for students who have been accused of misconduct on campus.
- The Access and Privacy Office can provide information about the policies that govern access to personal information, both electronic as well as hard‐copy.