How safe is your internet?

social media logosBelieve it or not, the first prototype of the internet was invented by the United States government in the late 1960's. No one then foresaw the role the internet would have in our lives today. We use it to share pictures of our pets, buy groceries, play games, and share jokes and have conversations with our friends. However, we all know that we don't have to spend a whole lot of time on the internet to see the negative affects, such as bullying, depression, and anxiety. This blog will quiz you on your knowledge, then teach you a little about how to be safer on the internet. Test your ability to handle these problems and learn more with the answers below!

1. After scrolling through Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, you're feeling a little left out. You saw your friends hanging out without you at that new brunch place, your selfie didn't get as many likes as your other friends, and now it's too late to start your homework. You're feeling upset and overwhelmed. Should you take a break from your social media profiles?

  • Yes
  • No

2. One of your new friends creates a fake Instagram profile to share embarrassing pictures of another student at your school. The account is private, so the other student hasn't seen the posts but knows that it exists. You know it's wrong to bully this other student, but you're afraid that your new friend will know it was you who reported it. What do you do? 

  • A) Convince your friend to make the Instagram account public, then tag the other student in it.
  • B) Create a fake profile of your new friend so they can see how it feels
  • C) Screenshot all of the posts and share it on your Facebook profile
  • D) Report it to the dean of your school

3. Social media sites are designed to be addictive and collect data about you.

  • True
  • False

4. Disinformation is false information shared with the intent to deceive others, while misinformation is shared by people who may not know the information is false.

  • True
  • False

5. Everyone that I meet online is who they say they are.

  • True
  • False

6. It's okay to have parts of my name or my birthday in my password as long as I don't use all of it.

  • True
  • False

the word "solutions"


1. The answer is YES. The fear of missing out (FOMO) is real (SCL Health, 2018). Social media is often referred to as the highlight reel of our lives. From Snapchat to TikToks, it's hard to find anyone who doesn't post the best parts of life. A good habit to get into is asking yourself, "How do I feel?" after scrolling through your feeds. You can even keep a journal of it. We know the Internet is good because it helps us feel connected. If you're not feeling good about it, it's good to take a break from social media. You can even use library sites like Creativebug to find tutorials and stay relaxed! Some even suggest only checking social media at certain times of day, like in the evening after you have all your work done.


2. The answer is D. The best way to stop bullying is to tell someone about it, even if it's not happening at school. In this situation, a parent could have worked as well. According to the Pew Research Center, 59% of teens have reported being cyberbullied (Anderson, 2018). Cyberbullying has lasting effects on victims, including low self-esteeem, feeling depressed, and academic difficulties (Hinduja & Patchin, 2018). This problem is a good example of what real targeted cyberbullying looks like, but it can also be as simple as your friends posting private conversations online or recording a video of you and sharing it without your consent. If you'd like to learn more about cyberbullying and how you can prevent it, take a look at our collection of related titles.

3. The answer is TRUE. If it's free, you're the product. The beginnings of this phrase are unclear, but it's become a widely accepted term regarding sites like Facebook. Social media companies collect data about users like you to better sell advertisements to companies or organizations that would like you to buy their product or support their cause (Leetaru, 2018). It is also widely accepted that social media was created using behavior modification psychology to be addicting, like gambling (Lanier, 2018). Responsible social media and internet use means being aware of this information, then deciding how you want to interact with those sites. View our titles on social media and privacy.

4. The answer is TRUE. The difference between disinformation and misinformation is crucial to digital literacy. Often, we are not sharing or creating disinformation, information created with the intent to deceive, on the internet, but we are likely to share misinformation, which is information shared by a user who does not know it is false (PEN America, 2020). A responsible rule of thumb: when in doubt, don't share. This includes any personally identifying information as well. Check out our Media Literacy blog for some tips on how to fact check posts!

5. The answer is FALSE. If you've ever made a fake account or an additional account, you know how easy it is to pretend to be someone that you're not on the internet. Online impersonators create fake accounts to harm you or others (Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, 2020). Some good practices include: never sharing your personal information online (including what school you attend and where), only being friends online with people who you know in person, and not meeting up with someone you met online without another trusted adult with you (Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, 2020). It's also important to be careful about what information you're sending online. A good rule of thumb here is: if you wouldn't want it to show up on television for everyone in the world to see not send it.

6. The answer is FALSE. Passwords are the gate keys to a lot of personally identifiable information, such as private messages, pictures, financial information, etc. It's important to create safe passwords, even if it is more difficult to remember. Some good tips for passwords are: don't use any personal information, don't use sequential numbers, don't use words from the dictionary, and don't reuse passwords (Privacy Rights Clearninghouse, 2019).

Part of the mission of the public library is to help you be safe on the internet and find reliable, true information. Keep up with our current services or contact your local branch to access our resources and have your questions answered.