Today's Update: Wednesday, June 24

June 24, 2020

Dear Student Life Team, 

Perhaps it's amount of time I've spent working remotely, but I've been reflecting lately on the role of technology in our lives. While digital wellness isn’t officially part of our Student Life Nine Dimensions of Wellness, there has been considerable talk about adding it. The Student Life Health and Wellness Community of Practice is working now to develop an official definition.  

Our devices enable us to interact with the family, friends and the community in new ways. Technology allows us to consume more timely and diverse content from a variety of sources, from news to entertainment. It gives us access to an unprecedented amount of information and allows us to store seemingly limitless amounts of documents, photos and videos. 

I think about the amount of time I am connected to my devices at all hours of the day and night, particularly in this new reality of virtual meetings and teleconferences. I also notice that the line between my personal life and my professional life feels blurred sometimes. While the pandemic has limited my in-person conversations, they’ve been replaced by more phone conversations, text messages, emails and online meetings. Now more than ever, I feel it is important that we find time to disconnect and recharge. 

With all the advantages technology brings, it is important to understand the potential dangers of the digital world and how they can impact our overall well-being. As we interact digitally, we create a digital footprint of information that can make us vulnerable to cyber criminals.  From the devices that can track our location to apps that know our preferences to the accounts that know the items we purchase and to the documents and photos we create, we produce a lot of digital information. With inherent threats related to security and privacy, technology can put us at risk physically, emotionally and financially. Identity theft, cyberstalking, bullying, financial fraud and many other cybercrimes can have a significant impact on the victims. 

To help our students and staff, the university has developed resources to help staff with understanding and protecting the security and privacy in the digital world. The program is called Cybersecurity for You (C4U) and can be accessed at c4u.osu.edu. The program allows staff members to learn about security and privacy online by completing activities and achievements that earn points towards rewards.  Each activity takes less than 5 minutes to complete and includes a few questions to verify your understanding of key aspects in the article.  The content is continuously updated to keep up with the latest trends and the ever-changing ways we use technology.  The most recently activities have been related to achievements for ‘Keeping Safe While Working Remotely’ and ‘Securing Your Home Office’. 

The discussion over the role of technology goes back generations, dating at least to science fiction writers like Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury more than half a century ago, as they posed the question, "Are we using our technology, or is it the other way around?"  

I’m sure we’ll hear more about digital well-being in the future, but for now, I hope you take a few moments to think about your digital footprint.  

Making it work for us is the Scarlet and Great way to stay well. 

Melissa