5 important online habits to have in 2024

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Many of us lived our lives online during the pandemic. We held meetings, classes, and events on Zoom. We got news and information on the internet. We couldn’t socialize, so we entertained ourselves with Netflix and Tiktok at home.

Even now after restrictions are done, online activities continue to take up a lot of our time. While some activities are healthy, there are some that keep us off track. These could be habits like mindless scrolling, excessive online shopping, and others. These are not only time and resource wasters, these can also increase our stress, expose us to misinformation, and open us up to various security threats.

Why should you improve your online habits? Here are some of the benefits:

  1. Boost your productivity – You’ll be able to allocate your time for more productive activities.
  2. Increase focus – Less screen time allows your brain to slow down and focus without distractions.
  3. Reduce stress – Constant connectivity can cause anxiety. Finding a balance gives you more control.
  4. Increased security – Less time spent mindlessly scrolling online means less chances of being phished or hacked.

Five digital habits to boost your life next year

  1. Take breaks from social media

    It’s so easy to waste time on social media. It’s so entertaining! A few minutes online can easily turn into hours of scrolling. But did you know that a study found that those spending six hours or more per day watching screens had a higher risk of depression? Here’s how not to be addicted to social media:

    • Limit social media to 30 minutes to an hour a day – Set a daily limit for your social media use to avoid mindless scrolling.
    • Have “digital detox days” – Designate specific days where you disconnect from social media entirely. Use this time to engage in offline activities.
    • Replace screen time with active time – Instead of scrolling, consider going for a walk, reading a book, or pursuing a hobby.
    • Turn off notifications – Minimize distractions by turning off non-essential notifications on your phone. This helps you focus without constant interruptions.

  2. 7 Healthy Habits for Social Media Use, Commonwealth Health Alliance

  3. Practice safe internet habits

    Ensuring your online safety is crucial to protecting your personal information and digital identity. Follow these practices:

    • Update your passwords regularly – Change your passwords often. Use a combination of lower and upper case letters, special symbols, and numbers.
    • Don’t immediately click on links – Be cautious of unsolicited emails or messages containing links. Verify the sender’s authenticity before clicking.
    • Use two-factor authentication – Choose this feature whenever it’s available. Enabling this gives your accounts an extra layer of security.
    • Update your anti-virus -Regularly update and run antivirus software to safeguard your device against potential threats.
  4. Be more cyber-aware

    • Always verify information – Not everything you see online is true. Before sharing news or facts, verify their authenticity from reliable sources. Google search is free and easy to use.
    • Educate yourself about common scams– Stay informed about online scams to avoid falling victim. Also, never rush when buying items online. Take the time to review return policies, or check on the company or product especially if it’s not well-known.
    • Practice critical thinking – Develop a habit of evaluating information, especially before making decisions based on online content. See if information is logical, unbiased, and if it’s coming from a reliable source.
  5. Keep your digital space organized

    An organized digital space will make you more efficient. Not only will it make your computer run faster, it will also help you think clearer when everything is organized and uncluttered. Here’s what you can do:

    1. Remove unnecessary files, apps, and subscriptions.
    2. Organize your files and keep them in clearly labelled folders. It will also help to have a clear and standard file-naming system so it will be easy to retrieve files.
    3. Keep your desktop clean. Have only a few folders or icons. Use your task bar to hold programs instead.
    4. Make a back-up of important files.
    5. Store folders containing files you don’t need anymore. You can save them in an external disk or in an online drive.
  6. Use online learning to boost your skills

    Make the most of the wealth of information available online by investing in your personal and professional development:

    • Take advantage of online learning – Enroll in courses or workshops to acquire new skills and knowledge.
    • Stay updated with industry trends – Follow reputable websites, blogs, and forums to stay informed about the latest developments in your field.
    • Watch educational or inspirational videos – Micro learning sites like TED Talks or Learn English with Emma (engvid) on YouTube are great for learning on-the-go. Only follow sites that provide reliable and well-researched information.

Developing these five habits as part of your online routine will not only enhance your productivity and focus but also contribute to a fulfilling digital experience. As we step into 2024, let’s embrace these habits to make the most of our time online.
Sources: 10 digital habits to pick up in 2023, Liezl Metrio, Outsource Accelerator; How to fix your bad digital habits (and why you should), actiTIME; How a year of living online has changed us, Rebecca Ruiz, Mashable; Accessed November 30, 2023.

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Community Resources

The Government of Canada’s Get Cybersafe is also great site to learn more about safe online habits. Start by answering the Cyber Safe Checkup to see if you’re doing enough to keep yourself safe from online dangers.

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