The world is not as safe as it was, even more so with the vast information that’s available to us through technology which helps people concoct more ways to be bad and take advantage of others. We now have both the offline and the online world to deal with. College students are very much vulnerable to these threats like cyber hacking, cyber bullying, cyber security, and more from posting in social media all the time. Pete Canavan is a personal safety expert with an extensive experience as an IT consultant. He shares his mission to make people improve their online and offline safety and talks about self-defense and the warrior mindset. Learn how you can get into shape to better defend yourself from the threats that are hovering around.
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How To Be Safe Both Online And Offline with Pete Canavan
I have with me author, speaker and personal safety expert, Pete Canavan. He’s made it his mission to improve personal safety. His extensive experience as an IT security consultant, martial arts and self-defense instructor, and public safety professional allow him to provide practical and actionable solutions to threats. Pete has written five books. His latest book is titled The Ultimate Guide to College Safety, which educates students on how to deal with the online and offline safety concern.
Pete’s unique blend of experiences allows him to quickly impart value and actionable information to others so that they stay safe and secure in both the physical world and the digital world. I remember when we booked this, I thought, “I’ve never had anyone on who it is about improving personal safety and your background is so varied.” First, I want to ask you, how did this become your mission? How did you wake up with this as your mission one day?
I have been running my own information technology consulting company since 1995. Since that time and much more so recently, I’ve been helping clients keep their systems, accounts, computers, networks and email accounts secure and safe. I’ve been doing that for a long time and then I’ve also been training in the martial arts for about twenty years. When my oldest was getting ready to go to college, there are so many things going on in college and problems with students and they’re impressionable. I wanted to put some information together for him and I said, “I’m going to write my next book tailored to the college audience because they are at the point in their lives where they’re forming those opinions and those things that are going to shape and mold them for the rest of their lives,” whether it’s viewpoints on relationships or politics and there are so many different things. I said, “I’m going to take my experience in the online realm, experiencing the offline realm, blend it together and make it my mission to help people improve their safety no matter where they are.
I absolutely love that. There’s so much going on nowadays. There are so many things with cyber hacking and cybersecurity and people are concerned about their websites and their emails and social media and putting information. Also, people are concerned about their kids. They’re concerned about whether they’re sending their five or six-year-old to Kindergarten or they’re sending an older child off to college. There’s so much to deal with. I’d love to have some tips first that are maybe some online tips that Heartrepreneurs who are business owners or are working in a job, what are some things that we can do and we should know about online?
Many people believe that the social media and online websites, forums, allow them to voice their opinions and it’s a great platform. However, that comes with some risks as we’ve seen in the news because things that you post online are always going to be there. I tell people to think twice, post once. Because you’ve made to think that it’s going to be okay to post something but think back and read it a second or a third or fourth time before you actually post it. Sometimes we think that things were posting are fairly harmless, yet somehow somebody somewhere finds it offensive. There’s no way to say things that are never going to offend anybody, but it seems that the tolerance level of our society has come down so far that if the smallest little thing is out of the mainstream thought process, people get to attack you. That’s scary because we should have a freedom of speech and that’s what part of this country, the United States, is based around yet it seems like it’s under attack all the time.The things you post online are always going to be there. Click To Tweet
I love what you said, “Think twice, post once.” I’ll share something that happened. Someone put something on Facebook about how the world is filled with struggle and pain. I responded in a way that I would typically respond, which is feeling pain, feeling the struggle and choosing those thoughts. Those are feelings that we choose. For me personally, just being very conscious of my thoughts, I don’t choose to struggle and I don’t choose pain. The person went crazy and did not just disagree, but started calling me names. I was like, “Isn’t that interesting?” I noticed on social media for whatever reason, it seems like people are either there to get agitated or they get agitated. I want to recommend that everyone follows your advice to think twice and post once.
It’s true because you have two-person personalities. They have their online and your offline persona. The online world lets people do things even anonymously where maybe they can voice things that they normally wouldn’t. Things can be traced back to you that could be affecting not only what’s happening to you personally and in your life and your relationships with friends and family. It’s the political season. Election caused a lot of people to you unfriend people, just for differences in opinion. That’s ridiculous. We need to understand that these things can sit up there for a long time. You may be in a job or you may have a business and you post something out there and a year or two or three down the road, you’re maybe trying to pick up a client or you’re trying to get a new job. Somebody is out there and they’re checking you out and they come across some posts that you made that they find offensive. You might have just lost the contract, lost the job. You’ve got to be careful.
I have someone that I know that’s in my spear who was having a lot of fun in their early twenties and posting a lot of pictures of going to places and drinking and all these various amusing things that they put on their Facebook page. When they went for a job interview, they said, “We’d like to see access to some of your social media.” He said, “I’ve got several social media counts.” They didn’t give their personal account. They gave some different accounts. Their social media posts from their personal page showed up and I don’t know how they found it, but they did find it. Not only didn’t they hire the person, we knew that that’s how they found it because they said, “You were the most qualified person we interviewed. However, we need someone who studies and doesn’t have a background that involves drugs and alcohol.” The only way they would have known that clearly was by looking at their Facebook page.
I always tell people, “When you’re a young person and you think, “I’m doing some fun, crazy stuff,” do you need to post that on social media? Does the world need to know that?” It goes right back to your advice. Think twice, post once. What are some things that we can do in the physical world, particularly as adults around how can we be more aware and protect ourselves more?
The largest problem is our complacency and our ability to get caught up in our routines. When we do that, we expect the same things to happen no matter where we are. We’re going to the supermarket all the time. We know the parking lot. We know the store. We’re walking our dog every night. We’re walking it down the same streets. There are things that we do every single day that becomes a routine and when we get stuck in a routine, we become complacent and when we become complacent, we become not as careful as we should be. It could be distractions from technology as we all know, whether it’s your cell phone or maybe you’re listening to music and it’s too loud in your ears and you can’t hear a commotion around the corner. There are a lot of things that if we simply took a little bit of extra time and understood that the more familiar places to you, the more you’re at risk.
The more familiar the places, the more you’re at risk. As you said that, I was thinking about my own life and when I’m on a business trip. I tend to be a walker. I love to walk and I take a walk in an unfamiliar neighborhood. I always notice. I’m keenly aware and paying attention to my surroundings. I don’t wear my headphones and yet when I walk in the park by my house, I literally pay no attention. I am just walking, music’s turned up and I don’t have awareness of my surroundings. That hit me.
That’s part of the biggest problem is that people expect things to be the same day after day because yesterday, things were this way. The day before, things were this way. The day before that, things were this way. Tomorrow, they’ll probably be the same and yes, they probably will. There is a chance that they won’t. Just having that little bit of awareness in the back of your mind when you find yourself not paying as much attention as you should, it should be something that jolts you up and says, “I better make sure that nobody’s following me or whatnot.”
If you’re walking down the street, I don’t care if you’re somewhere where you’re familiar or not. If you’re constantly looking up and around, you’re not going to be able to be surprised. If somebody is, for example, sizing you up to maybe rob you or assault you, they know they’re not going to be able to surprise you because your head is on a swivel. You’re constantly looking around. Your head is not buried in your phone. You’re not texting, you’re not bopping around with your earphones on and not paying attention, which makes you an easier victim. If you show someone that you’re not going to be an easy victim or someone that’s easily surprised, you lose some of that allure as a victim and chances are, they’re going to go and move onto somebody else.For some reason, people go on social media either to agitate or get agitated. Click To Tweet
I want to bring up one other thing. About fifteen or sixteen years ago, I took some self-defense classes and I liked it so much. I got a black belt in jujitsu. I wasn’t expecting that. I was learning self-defense and then I fell in love with it. Do you recommend that people take some martial arts, learn some self-defense? I’m curious what you think about that.
Everybody should learn some basics. You don’t have to become a black belt, which is awesome. You have a little bit more experience than the average person. One of the things and one of the myths that I try to dispel is people think you have to go train in the martial arts and you’ve got to do that for a year, two years, three years before you become proficient. I do workshops all the time. I can show someone just a few things within the space of a few hours or half a day and some occasional weekend workshop, whatever the case may be, that can prepare somebody to handle a physical attack.
With that being said, I can show you the coolest move in the world and you could go to some workshop and they could show you how to defend yourself and get out of a choke or if somebody is on top of you or whatever. If you can’t bring yourself to get in the mindset of a warrior, the warrior mindset, I could show you the coolest move in the world, but if you can’t bring yourself to do it, it’s useless. What’s the point? People need to think about situations before they occur and say, “If this is going to happen, this is what I’m going to do.” If you get into that mindset of someone who’s going to go around through over under any obstacle that stands in their way, they will be much better off and much better prepared even with no physical self-defense training than somebody who’s never even thought about it.Think twice. Post once. Click To Tweet
I love that you said warrior mindset. I am a strong believer that people do need to learn some form of self-defense. I remember in the first two classes I took, I instantly knew two things I could do. I felt much more confident and a lot of the work that they did with us was getting in that warrior mindset. If you were being attacked, you need to have that mindset and you can’t say, “I know all these moves and not use them.” You need to actually act. I have a million questions. We’re running out of time. How can people connect with you? Find out more? Where can they get your books?
My personal website is the best place to learn more about me and also get some information. That website is my name, PeteCanavan.com. I have an online safety checklist that people can download. You can go through the checklist and make sure those are things you’re not doing or are doing online to help protect you. The Ultimate Guide to College Safety book is on there as well that the people can purchase and keep their kids safe. It’s also got relevant information for pretty much anybody.
Head over to PeteCanavan.com. I recommend that everybody download the safety checklist. It’s so wonderful for you to make that available. Then those of you who have kids going off to college, I have kids in college, no people who have kids in college, get the book, share the book, The Ultimate Guide to College Safety, which is on PeteCanavan.com. Pete, you’ve been an amazing, stellar guest and thank you so much for joining me Heartrepreneur Radio.
Anything I can do to keep one more person safe is a day well-spent.
Audience, I hope you’ve got lots of value, I sure did. I have a whole page of notes. Grab that safety checklist. Check out his book called The Ultimate Guide to College Safety. If you have not joined our online community where people do business together and learn from each other, head on over there. It’s a Facebook group called Heartrepreneurs with Terri Levine. You’ll have access to 2,400 amazing people like Pete and we will learn more about you that way.
About Pete Canavan
Author, former radio show host, and personal safety expert Pete Canavan has made it his mission to improve personal safety. His extensive experience as an IT security consultant, self-defense instructor, and public safety professional allows him to provide practical, actionable solutions to threats that exist in both the digital and physical worlds. He has been helping clients and students learn how to protect themselves for over 20 years from all types of online and offline threats to their personal safety and security. Pete can educate your school or organization and enhance the safety and security of students, employees, and others.