I think Love Camel has touched on the critical point, as online/offline safety always comes first, especially when we don’t know who or what we are dealing with. In the online environment, one has to be aware that the link may be a machine generated spams, or Trojans, and with just a click to the link, then our personal details could be stolen. This is not to say that we shouldn’t trust others, as Nicola mentioned, but that learning how to navigate with safety is an important skill (literacy too).
I still recall my early days (in late 90s and early 2000s) in learning with open navigation, and with curiosity, clicking on sites that were hidden with virus and Trojans. Even with the virus detector and remover, it took great pains to re-boot the system, with a day or two days’ time to re-configure everything, and the numerous files which have been lost. On another occasion, there was a link offered to me from a “friend”, where I didn’t know that it was again a Trojan trap, and clicked on that. I asked the friend why it happened, and he did the same, as it was referred by others (the spam replicator!) This is still a concern, especially, when it comes to email spams, or other sorts of online connections.
I also agree with your views relating to the safety with specific professions and institutions, where one needs to especially be cautious in “commenting” and sharing information, as there are confidential personal/security information that are prohibited for disclosure to the public. This is true both online and offline.
For me, I would not lay trust in giving out (or sharing) information to those “spammers” as it would be too risky and not worth the “value”.
We have too often seen crime cases due to use of computer networks and in particular social media – where people were bullied (cyber bullying especially deadly), harassed, intimated by trolls, manipulated, or even allured to do things that they don’t want to do, as you mentioned. This also explains why we need “education” or better still “self-directed education” to be aware and cautious in preventing or reducing the risks due to social networking or virtual online networking. The use of adequate tools to combat such bullying would be important. An understanding of online safety and security would also help in our education and learning.
What about your experience in this trust and online safety?
Postscript: Refer to this post on bully and video below. Thanks to Nancy Rubin for the link on Twitter.
Another good resource on cybersafety and digital citizenship.
Cyber smart is an useful resource.