Be Smart! Easy Tips for Using Social Media Safely
Social media has truly revolutionized our culture and become a bigger part of our lives than we ever realized. It has changed how we receive news, communicate, share pictures, and catch up with our friends and loved ones. In an instant, we can share pictures and opinions with the world without delay or second thought. Social media is a great asset for both our personal and professional lives, but it does not come without its drawbacks. Sharing such personal information to such a large group of users can put you at risk. Keep reading for helpful tips on how to protect yourself while using social media.
Understand & Use Privacy Settings
When joining any social network, be sure to take the time to review and edit the privacy settings to protect you and your personal information. Do not assume that by default your profile is private. A good guideline to follow is to make personal information, such as your location, birthday, phone number, and workplace only visible to your friends. Personal photos, especially those of your children and home, are also recommended to be available to only those you have approved for your family’s safety. Also, as with anything, take the time to choose a strong password and change it often to prevent your account from being compromised and always log out.
Choose Your Friends Wisely
As mentioned above, you only want your information accessible to those you approve of. Only “friend” people you know, and even then, beware of fake profiles impersonating a friend or loved one. Use caution with those you meet on gaming platforms or in chat room and groups - you never know who is actually behind that screen. Do not be afraid to decline a request or “unfriend” someone who is not who they represented themselves to be. If necessary, many social networks allow you to “block” users as well, if you need to fully prevent contact.
What Not To Share
Besides the obvious identifying personal information, be careful about sharing your location publicly, especially while you are away on vacation. Avoid opening yourself up to unnecessary risks. On Buy/Sell groups, always meet in daylight hours in a public place, don’t post your phone number or address in a public forum, and if you become uncomfortable stop the transaction. A sale or good deal is not worth compromising your safety. Also remember, that anything you post, even to just your friends, can be duplicated and re-shared without your consent or knowledge. A post made in anger or haste, or a compromising picture can easily be printed out or screen-shot. Assume that everything you post online can be replicated or eventually made public, so use discretion. For more information on protecting your online reputation click here.
Do Unto Others
Be just as kind online as you would be in real life. Your words have just as much weight and consequence online. Cyber-bullying is real problem that affects millions of people each year. Be encouraging and avoid joining in harmful debates and discussions that just tear others down. Yes, social media is a great way to have our voices be heard, but be tactful and respectful. Avoid spreading false, sensational news. Think before you post. Remember you can’t always take it back. Lastly, if you are being attacked or harassed online, do not engage with the other party. Unfriend them, block them, and if necessary report them to the online administrator or proper authorities.
Social media is part of the very fabric of our lives these days and is a great way to stay connected with family and friends. Make the most of social media and have fun, but use caution and take the time to protect yourself. You won’t regret it. For more articles like these, contact Corporate Graphics of America today at 773-481-2100, by email, or through the Contact Us Form.
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