Let’s get one thing straight: it’s no longer possible to deny that your personal life in the physical world and your digital life are one and the same. Meaning, while you are present here on the ground, you continue existing online, whether you know it or like it or not.

Coming to terms with this reality will help you make better decisions in many aspects of your life.

1. Get device savvy: Whether you’re using a laptop, desktop, Mac, tablet, mobile, wired Internet, wireless, or software, learn it. No excuses. No more, “My kids know more than I do,” or, “All I know how to do is push that button-thingy.” Take the time to learn enough about your devices to wear them out or outgrow them.

2. Get social: One of the best ways to get savvy is to get social. By using your devices to communicate with the people in your life, you inevitably learn the hardware and software. Keep in mind that “getting social” doesn’t entail exposing all your deepest, darkest secrets, or even telling the world you just ate a tuna sandwich. Proceed with caution here.

3. Manage your online reputation: Whether you are socially active or not, whether you have a website or not, there are plenty of websites that know who you are, that are either discussing you or listing your information in some fashion. Google yourself and see what’s being said. Developing your online persona through social media and blogging will help you establish and maintain a strong online presence.

4. Get secure: There are more ways to scam people online than ever before. Your security intelligence is constantly being challenged, and your hardware and software are constant targets. Invest in antivirus, anti-spyware, anti-phishing, and firewalls. Getting security-savvy is a great way to start a new year.

Robert Siciliano, personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto. Disclosures

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