As we step into a new year, it offers the ideal time to take stock of all we’ve accomplished over the last 12 months and what more we can do in the months ahead. 2024 promises to be no exception. A recent Forbes Health survey found that 45% of individuals will make three resolutions for the year, with 48% of these commitments tied to physical fitness.
Just as taking control of our physical fitness can help reduce stress and improve our overall well-being, so too can taking control of our digital health. As the digital world continues to evolve and new technologies like generative AI and electronic surveillance gain greater traction, privacy is becoming an increasingly critical element of our day to day. In fact, 92% of people think privacy is important with 64% thinking about it often or always. And more often than not, a majority of individuals are trying to maintain their privacy by simply not sharing (54%). And let’s face it, not sharing isn’t realistic for the lives we live today.
Here are four simple – yet impactful – steps we each can take to up our privacy wellness now and into the future:
Set Clear Privacy Goals: Whether it's minimizing your digital footprint, strengthening your online security, or being more cautious about the personal information you share, committing to privacy action is a critical first step. By being more aware of your personal privacy and taking steps to protect your privacy, you’ll pave the way for a more secure digital presence.
Take New Actions: Make an effort to replace risky habits – like using the same password on multiple platforms or [insert another risky habit] – with more secure practices. For example, adopt unique, robust passwords for each platform (a password doesn’t have to be hard, it just needs to be long to be secure). Or consider using a password manager to aid in creating and securely storing complex passwords. This practice not only minimizes the risk of a single breach compromising multiple accounts, but it also fortifies digital defenses against increasingly sophisticated cyber threats.
Adopt Privacy-Friendly Tools: In addition, using tools like VPNs, secure browsers, and privacy-focused apps that anonymize your identity can be invaluable. From creating new telephone numbers when you meet someone for the first time or new emails that link to existing accounts, the tools available today provide unique ways for you to be in control of what you choose to share and how others can use that information.
Educate Yourself and Others: An informed community is a protected community. Read up regularly on what is happening in personal privacy and what new tools are on the market or policies are being implemented to make digital spaces safer, and healthier. Look for certifications tied to the apps you use or read reviews and do background checks of the companies producing them. Understand the best practices that you can start to implement to protect your personal data throughout the year and then share these tips with friends and loved ones.
These steps are not just about safeguarding ourselves; they are about creating a more secure, stress-free digital environment for everyone around us. Every small action counts when it comes to privacy and the long-term benefits of improved privacy practices can be immense for ourselves and our community. Peace of mind, reduced risk of identity theft, and a sense of control over personal information are just the beginning.
Want more privacy wellness tips? Dig into these:
This year, let's all experience the positive impacts of strong privacy habits by committing to doing more for our privacy wellness in 2024.