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Communication and «The Good Life»

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Edited By Hua Wang

What is a «good life» and how can it be achieved? In this volume, communication scholars and media experts explore these fundamental questions about human existence and aspiration in terms of what a «good life» might look like in a contemporary, mediatized society. While in many ways a mediatized society brings us closer to some version of the «good life», it also leads us away from it. The affordances of new technologies seem to have shifted, for many, from an opportunity to an obligation. Rather than choosing when and where to be connected to these larger networks of information and acquaintances, we feel we must be permanently available, thus losing the luxury of controlling our time and attention.
This volume illuminates the complexity of our modern era, exploring how society can leverage exciting new opportunities whilst recognizing the complex challenges we face in a time of constant change. It helps us understand how we have come to this point and where we may be going so that we may study the opportunities and the dangers, the chances and the risks, that digital media pose in our quest for some version of «the good life».
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Chapter Ten: Communicating Online Safety: Protecting Our Good Life on the Net

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← 160 | 161 → CHAPTER TEN

Communicating Online Safety

Protecting Our Good Life on the Net1

ROBERT LAROSE, SALEEM ALHABASH, MENGTIANJIANG, RUTH SHILLAIR, HSIN-YI SANDY TSAI,SHELIA R. COTTEN AND NORA J. RIFONMICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY, USA

CONCEPTUALIZING ONLINE SAFETY

A succession of news-making online threats introduce online safety behavior—defined as actions that users take to protect their computing devices and themselves from online security threats—as a topic of interest for communication researchers. These episodes highlight the importance of individual safety behavior and the need to motivate users to take protective measures of their own. For example, the Heartbleed bug discovered in April 2014 forced users of many popular websites using Open SSL to encrypt secure transactions to change their passwords. The following month, hacker attacks orchestrated by the Chinese government that preyed upon employees of major U.S. corporations, who opened innocuous-seeming email attachments purportedly from corporate security officers or other trustworthy sources, were revealed. Each day, millions of “phishing” attacks that target consumers with the help of information gleaned from social media sites succeed in implanting malware on the computers of users (National Cyber Security Alliance, McAfee, & JZ Analytics, 2012) and entrapping many of them in fraud (Martin & Rice, 2013). A fifth of U.S. Internet users still lack basic protections, and a third of users worldwide fail to keep security patches updated for popular computer applications such as Word, Java, and Flash (National Cyber Security Alliance et al...

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