They were angry with us.
The family was at our brother’s house over the weekend. The grumbling began after lunch.
‘It’s the middle of January and you still haven’t told us your New Year’s resolution,’ they said. We shrugged.
We’re happy with our weight, we’re sort of organized, we don’t smoke and we’ve already done away with many of the vices that make life exciting. ‘We don’t have a resolution for this year,’ we said.
They threatened to take our dessert away unless we promised to come up with a resolution to share with them by next family dinner. (Have you ever noticed how pushy brothers and sisters can be?) We quickly finished our piece of cake.
And so we got to thinking.
We wanted our resolution to be pithy and easy to remember. Something cool and techy and connected. Something wise.
Then we came across a very nice Facebook post by Norton at CES2014: 2 Tips for digital kids. There were the 2 golden rules for children to be safe online (i.e. the basics):
With all that peer pressure that happens at school, we’re not sure that kids are going to have the wherewithal to stick to the rules, but it’s a great start. Very K.I.S.S.
For you grown-ups out there, suspicious means anything and everything you aren’t sure about!
And then it hit us. We had an idea that could be molded into a message that would change lives! We’re dealing with family, so of course it would have to be very simple, but at least we have the advantage of not having to address that hall locker combination thing.
We proudly present our resolution for 2014: I resolve to T.H.I.N.K.
Oops, that’s not supposed to be an acronym. In 2014: I resolve to think.
We can hear them now, ‘it can’t be that easy!‘, ‘that’s it? – that’s the secret to being safe online?‘ and ‘no dessert for you!‘ (That last one really hurts!)
We’re not saying that that is the only thing needed to being safe online – far from it. We’re simply saying that it’s the first and most important step.
It is the first step to staying safe in the physical world as well as the virtual universe of the Internet. Just as we think about which locks to put on our doors, we should think about the tools we have on our devices. After all, in many ways a physical lock is analogous to an antivirus program and firewall and password manager.
Even with the best antivirus, firewall, anti-malware, password manager, and other security programs (we’ll share our favorites in future blogs), we have to think about the information they give us and then react.
I resolve to think before I use another silly password, on multiple sites.
I resolve to think before clicking on popups and unknown links.
I resolve to think before I send my bank account info to someone claiming he wants to share millions with me.
I resolve to think before _________________ (fill in the blank)
We’re bringing string to the next family gathering, so that everyone can tie a bit around a finger to remember their new resolution. (We think we’ll stash a donut in the car for the trip home.)
Here’s to a Happy and Healthy and Safe 2014!