UK Citizens Urged to Limit Screen Time During Lockdown

The UK government has published a set of guidelines designed to help people stay cyber-safe during the lockdown imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The United Kingdom has been in a state of lockdown since March 23, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked Brits to work from home if possible and only venture outside to buy food, take one hour of exercise per day, or for essential health reasons. 

Advice published April 23 by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport urges Brits to check the security and privacy settings on any services, apps, or devices they are using so they can stay cyber-safe while staying in touch with friends and family virtually. 

Brits are advised to block unsuitable content and report harmful activity to the operators of the site on which it is occurring. The guidelines suggest seeking support from the Samaritans, Mind, or BEAT on how to do this.

Her Majesty's subjects are also urged to take regular breaks not only from screen time, but also from consuming the vast quantities of primarily doom-mongering real and fake COVID-19 media in circulation that can cause anxiety. 

"It is easy to feel overwhelmed with information at this time. 24-hour news and constant social media updates can make you more worried," state the guidelines.

"It’s important to take a step back and think about how this is affecting you. If it is, try to limit the time you spend watching, reading, or listening to coverage of the outbreak. Check in at set times or a few times a day."

In the guidelines, the UK government issued a reminder to not believe everything you see, hear, or read online and asked citizens to check whether content is true and authentic before sharing it with anyone. 

Tips on how to sift the real reports from those that are utter horse-feathers include fact-checking, reading beyond the headline, source-checking, looking for bad grammar and spelling, and considering whether an image or video has been retouched or faked. 

Citizens are also warned to be on the lookout for phishing emails and text messages from fraudsters attempting to exploit public interest in COVID-19 for financial gain.

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