My Online Reputation is Worth Checking Out

shutterstock_197079635The Internet offers a wide range of information some of which related to people you know, don’t know, relatives, friends, and some are related to you in particular.   This information can be news, events, gatherings, photos, or even personal posts.   It can have great positive impact on you and your beloved ones, but it can also have a great negative impact on your reputation.

In these days, with this great development in science and technology and particularly the Internet, it can take a few clicks to get to know more about an individual.  It can help build a picture of what he or she likes.  Help understand their habits, know their beloved ones or the places they like going to.   As though this could be very helpful to get to know someone easily and fast, it can also prevent an individual from being able to control and protect what people can do with their information online.  They can share it with strangers and people they didn’t want to share this with at the first place.  This can have a dramatic impact on someone’s present and future in some cases.

Though this may seem hard to control with the Internet being open wide for everyone to check at any given time,  yet it can be manageable in a way that put you up in a very good condition to help you build good healthy reputation online.  With a little research, I’ve discovered the following options to start off with in order to get your reputation and the reputation of those who you care about good and healthy on this medium called the “virtual world”.

Search Yourself

Search your name on Google and create “Google alert” on your name to keep track of any content related.  You can have it mailed back to you “automatically”.  This can be done “as it happens”, “once a day”, or even “once a week”.  Choose whatever you like that keeps you aware and doesn’t necessarily overwhelm your inbox with junk you don’t need as some information may not be related at all to you.

N.B.  this is how you can create and manage Google alerts. Follow this link at Salty Dog Interactive.

Get your Domain Name

This is something you may want to consider as buying a domain name that matches your identity online helps keep your profile branding both healthy and reachable as well.  You can have it from places like GoDaddy, JustHost, HostGator, and many more..  This can help you build and keep alive information that you precisely want the public to see.

Keep it All in One

Make sure all your content link back to one place so when people visit your profile on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, or any other site they can be directed to your website “myname.com”.  This helps you control and manage what people see and learn about you.

Keep it Private If it’s Private

You really don’t want to share embarrassing photos, posts, or videos even if at some point they may bring laughter.  While moments in life are good to share with friends and family, it may also be as well good to consider thinking of how you’re going to share them before they go viral.

-Better individual for a better society-

How You Can Handle Internet Addiction

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In today’s world, the Internet has given us great support for a diversity of reasons and especially to those young men and women, the teenagers.  They use the Internet to do their school assignments. They sometimes use it to play games online, or shop from online stores i.e. amazon, eBay, etc.. It has greatly impacted their lives, and a lot of people have become so dependent on it to an extent they can’t live without it.

–Internet addiction by definition is the compulsive use of the virtual world despite the negative impact it could have on one’s life– HelpGuide.org

While time spent on the Internet can be very productive and efficient, compulsive or uncontrollable use can greatly affect the time we spend with family and friends, gatherings with classmates, and relationship with others.  It can possibly change our day to day activities into a more isolated one.

Why the Internet can be addicting?

It’s there:  It’s always there and you can reach it 24/7 through your computer, phone, tablet, etc..

Something to do: when we get free time, there is always something to be done on the Internet. You can read the news, chat with friends, search for new friends, check your email, watch videos, etc..

It’s comfortable: from home, you can reach all knowledge and information to finish up your work, research projects, and assignments.

You never know what you’ll find: the Internet keeps always updated with all the news and events happening around the globe which you can never feel saturation as it’s endless.

Know what’s going on: all of us use the Internet to be up to date with what’s happening around. It’s one major way to keep close to far friends and relatives, learn updates on the globe, be aligned with today’s trends.

No one knows what you look like: behind the screen you’re physically visible to no one. This for some makes it easier to communicate on a global scale and learn from others what they can’t in real life.

When do you know when addicted?

Losing track of time online: if you spend time online playing games, watching movies, or listening to music, etc.. to an extent you couldn’t remember when was the last time you ate or drank, then perhaps you’re using the Internet too much.

Isolation from family and friends: do you feel that most of the time you’re alone spending the time online, behind the screen with no companion? Is your family and friends life suffering because of your Internet use? Did you miss important events at home or school because of using the Internet?

Feeling defensive about your Internet use:  do you become very defensive when your mother asks you to stop using the Internet to come for dinner or lunch? Does it annoy you when someone asks you to put down your phone when talking to them?

What can you do?

Put time limit: it’s always good to schedule your Internet use throughout the day. This way you can keep track of how long it takes and there you can manage. Let’s say you want to play a game online, put an hour for the game and after that you must take a break and do something else.

Decide what you want: the Internet offers a variety of services. You can do shopping, play games, chat with friends,  and it’s very tempting.  This is why you need to decide what exactly are you looking for and don’t just login to be there.

Find alternatives: as you can find lots of fun stuff to do online, you can find the same and even more offline or in the real world. You can plan a trip with family and friends. You can read a book. You can learn about new cultures through history and heritage. You can visit museums. You only need to look around and I can assure you that you’ll find a lot of stuff to do.

Take breaks: breaks are very important in anything you do. It helps you recover and manage your time better. Make it a habit of taking small breaks in between.

 

–better individual for a better society–

How We Can Handle Criticism and Rejection

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In everyday life, we find people who criticize us for who we’re, how we look like, where we come from, or how we behave. In these criticisms, we sometimes face what is called “constructive criticism” and that has a lot to do with helping us find our weaknesses and looking into ways of avoiding it in future. It also helps us grow as an individual.  On the contrary, we sometimes face what is called “destructive criticism” and that is usually directed toward things we can’t change, and it’s there to hurt than to help. We often find people around us who might tell us we’re wrong, or we look bad, or we’re not as smart as they are, or maybe our hair color and the way we talk are funny, or we’re not as cool. We all have probably experienced that in different shapes and forms, and I think and after years of experience I can confidentially say it all depends on how we look at it or react back to these disapprovals of oneself, whether constructive or destructive. It can either break us into pieces or make us stronger individuals able to face the challenges of today’s world.

In the following paragraphs, I’d like to lay down for you the steps suggested by a book entitled “You Can Handle Criticism and Rejection” written for teenagers by ‘Joe Berry’ from the “Winning Skills Book” series. It highlights some methods or steps that we can take with regards to constructive and destructive criticism and rejection. Dealing with constructive criticism requires the following five steps to help us benefit from it and become better individuals.

  1. Listen carefully while we’re being criticized
  2. Thank the person who has criticized us
  3. Carefully consider the criticism we have received
  4. Decide what you need to do about the criticism
  5. Follow through with whatever we have decided to do

Dealing with destructive criticism requires the following four steps to help us get over it and not to let it take advantage of us.shutterstock_276527114

  1. Let the person who is criticizing us know that his or her destructive criticism is unacceptable
  2. Tell the person who is criticizing us how the criticism makes us feel
  3. Stop listening to the criticism
  4. Put the criticism aside

Feeling rejected can make us feel unloved or unwanted. It can quickly drop down our self-confidence. This can directly impact our performance and activity in our everyday life. It can be minimized by following the below four steps ( as described in the book ).

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  1. Remember that we are human beings and, even though we are not perfect, we are still valuable
  2. Remember, it’s the person who rejects us -not us- who has the problems
  3. Avoid being around any people who reject us
  4. Spend time with people who like and appreciate us

It all starts by taking the first step trying to make a difference. It can be tough in the beginning but trust me; it will be very rewarding by the end.

better individual for a better society

Stay Safe While Using Wi-Fi

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In today’s world, the Internet has given us several things to do. With all the huge benefit we get online, come online threats that we need to be aware of in order not to fall victim of online criminal activities.   In this article, we wish to raise the level of awareness on some of the used online threats and specifically those that are very much applicable over public or weakly secured Wi-Fi connections, and how we can avoid taken advantage of.

Man In the Middle Attack

Some cafes and restaurants these days have Wi-Fi access, freely available to the public to use for surfing the web and doing other online activities.   Some people use these Internet access methods to login to their banking accounts or do some online shopping.   shutterstock_181796174

While access is freely available to everyone, this includes the bad guys who we call “crackers or hackers” who want to steal your data.  As you login to your bank web site or do online shopping you transmit very important personal data across the network which could possibly be intercepted through what is called “Man in the Middle Attack” or in other words, the person who tries to get between you ( “your computer” ) and the site you’re trying to access. This gives them the right amount of data to capture your online transactions, including your login credentials.

For transmitting personal information online, it’s highly recommended that you login through your private highly secured network, at your premises to avoid such attack.

Evil Twin Attack

As hotels, Internet parks, cafes, and restaurants try to limit access to only their customers, they often create what we call “Internet access” page where the customer is given a code to access with, in order to continue over to the Internet.  This page could possibly be faked by a “cracker” trying to intercept all your traffic data after you’ve successfully accessed the Internet using their page and not the official page of the place you’re staying at.

This usually happens as for a “normal user” it might be little difficult to notice the difference between both pages.

In order to be safe, you need to check with the hotel front desk, the concierge, or the head waiter whether this is the right page to access before you start using the Internet. Or if you’re in a park where the internet is provided ( iPark ), you should contact the call center to verify the authenticity of the page.

War Driving Attack

Now, hackers use their cars along with highly sophisticated hardware and software technology which is widely available in the market to locate wireless networks with weak or no security available in their neighbor.  The moment they’re able to access your network, the easier it will get to intercept all your traffic data including your login credentials and much more personal information about you and your family.

In order to avoid such attack, it’s highly recommended to put on security configuration on your Internet access devices (“routers”) using the technology “WPA2” to securely protect your passwords and data from eavesdropping.

 

For more information on online safety, please keep in touch with Safe Space website and follow the hashtag on Twitter #safespaceQA.

-stay safe, stay connected-

Live a Happy Ramadan with Adding New Habits!

In this holy IDEAmonth, we start to develop our spiritual world and get closer more to God and religion.  In Ramadan, which is the holiest month of the year, in the Islamic calendar, people start to get together for Iftar gatherings and some special evenings, which we call “Suhoor”.  In such gatherings, we eat and drink and have great conversations with one another.  This is one of the times where people not only get closer religiously but also socially. I also believe that in such wonderful time, people can add new habits to their daily routine in a very simple and easy way to follow.

During the month, people tend to say things like, time is short, couldn’t finish up work, and we can’t get enough sleep, and the list goes on.  For me, I think it’s one of the best times where each individual can take advantage of to get more sleep, and add new good habit to their daily routine if they practice little simple time management strategies and apply it with commitment and a desire to change.

If you’re like most people, you’d love to avoid some silly habits from your daily routine such as watching TV excessively, talking over the phone for hours, or perhaps gazing at your phone trying to keep up with all updates on the social network. However, sometimes you like to add new habits as well which you haven’t experienced before and this when its gets a little interesting.

People say that in 30 days one can learn new habit if they keep doing it every day consistently for 30 days.  I have done it with reading and writing and I think it worked. Everyday at the beginning of the year, January 2015, I decided to write journals to record my day and read a little before I go to bed. By the end of the month, I felt like I’ve learned a new skill and habit, and up till this very moment, am easily able to put myself to read or write anything I like.

We can use the “30 days new habit learning strategy” and apply it with little time-management, commitment and a desire to change to the better in our daily routine during this holy month. What is so special about this month compared to others; is that we all have fixed timing to eat and drink, somehow fixed timing to sleep, and the rest for prayers and reciting Quran.

What I am proposing here is to try to avoid silly habits like drinking lots of coffee, smoking cigarettes, eating loads of sweets, and the list goes on. I am not saying to cut it off in one, but gradually decreasing the intake value ( i.e. two cigarettes a day ) and making sure that by the end of the month we’re not in need for it anymore. On the other hand, we can also start adding new habits such as exercising a little like 15 minutes every day, preferably right before Iftar so we can start eating when we’re in need for protein and carbs.

Share with me your thoughts on the topic if you have more to add, and let me know what you think!

Keep healthy and happy Ramadan everyone!

How It Feels When Your Best Friend Gets Married

Few days back it was my best friend’s wedding.   I had traveled to where he’s getting married a month before the wedding ceremony just to help out in the planning of the wedding.  I had a long holiday and thought to travel just to be with him at a time where he may need his friend the most.

We went together to get the tuxedo suit. We thought about the wedding hall, the playlist, the cake, the dance floor, and many more..

One week before the wedding I had to go back to the office for some quick work to be done and later I flew back to be with him during the time and of course attend the ceremony.

His plan of getting married to Weam ( his wife now! ) goes back to where he was a little boy of the age 13.   He knew her really long time back.  I remember days when he used to come to me and talk about his experience with her.  He used to be very excited and motivation to carry on with this relationship.

They both live separately in two different countries that is 3 hours far by plane, but one day, years back during college time she had planned to visit the country to see him..  The moment he had heard the news he jumped like a crazy fellow, trying to make everything right just to be ready when she’s around.  I’ve never seen him this happy before and from this time on I thought this is my best friend’s girl and I was pretty sure they’ll continue on for their marriage.

In our culture we usually don’t do speeches for best man.. but this time he had asked me to be his best man and so I thought of preparing a speech.  It took sometime to figure out what am I supposed to tell as we had so many life experiences together and I wanted to bring the best of it.  I went through for days to think but finally I was able to put it all together in one.

On the day of the event I had delivered the speech and everybody was happy, specially Khalid and Weam and I was so thankful everything went right. After the wedding and after I greeted both the bride and the groom I had some mixed feelings.  I felt really happy for him getting finally what he wanted since he was little boy, just to be with this girl.  But I also felt somehow alone which was a very strange feeling that I’ve never experienced before.  Even though I’ve been living by myself for the past three years abroad, I never had such feeling before. It’s very emotional and I am still going through some mixed thoughts and feelings, but after all I think he deserves the best and I am sure he’ll find the best and even more with Waem. She’s a lovely woman with great personality and both of them are so wonderful together with so much to look forward to.

How to Stay Safe and Connected on Social Media FB!

In today’s post I’d like to share with you a number of settings which could help tighten the security and privacy settings of your account on Facebook.FB Image

As Facebook look and feel change so frequently , it’s quite crucial that we keep checking the settings along the way as they do change as well with more features added to the site.

I’d like to show you some of the important settings that you can tweak in just a few clicks, while at the end I am sharing with you a video done by a Cyber Safety Expert which features most if not all features that may need your attention to keep your profile safe and secure online.

How to turn off facial recognition on FB?

Go to Settings >> Timeline and Tagging and at the very bottom click “Edit” on the question that reads “Who sees tag suggestions when photos that look like you are uploaded?”. Make sure to set the options to “No One”.

How can you block someone while you don’t want FB to notify them when you’ve done so?

Go to Settings >> Blocking>> Restricted List and there you need to click on “Edit list” and add that person you need to put some restrictions on.

How can you make sure strangers don’t find you on FB from just searching you up on engines like Google or Yahoo?

Go to Settings >> Privacy >> Who can look me up? and there you need to adjust the option that reads “Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline?” to “No”.

If you’re interested in adjusting more of your privacy and security settings, I’d recommend you watch this video done by a Cyber Safety Expert, Leonie Smith on “Advanced Facebook Privacy Settings 2015”.

Now you can see how little things you can adjust that could possibly put you and your beloved ones in a safer position when it comes to social networking.

“Little things can make a huge a difference”