Technology is an integral part of our daily lives. At the tap of a button you can make friends, support social causes and find a date. But the increasingly social dimension of technology also potentially compromises our safety and security.
Social media makes it easier for someone to locate and track a potential victim’s every move. Seemingly innocuous personal tidbits collected over time often add up to a picture of who you are, where you work, live and socialise, and what your habits are – all valuable information. It’s very important to be careful how much personal information you divulge on social media or it can make you bait for criminals or stalkers.
All social media services have easily accessible guidelines and recommendations to help users understand how to maximise their privacy and stay safe online. Here are some useful links for you to double check your settings:
- Facebook Basic Privacy Settings & Tools
- Twitter Account Security
- WhatsApp Security
- Instagram Security Tips
- Pinterest Account Security and and Hacked Accounts
- LinkedIn Account and Privacy Settings
Here are some tips from Dialdirect to staying safe online:
- There’s no such thing as private. Everything you post or share endures in the online environment. Even if it’s deleted immediately afterwards, it has the potential to be captured by someone without your knowledge. Anything you put up can potentially be copied — not to mention hacked by thieves.
- Pay attention to privacy settings. Learn about and use the privacy and security settings on your social networks via these links: Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. They’re there to help you control and limit who sees what you post and manage your online experience.
- Keep professionalism in mind. Consider different social networking accounts for your professional and personal life.
- Age before beauty. Never share the year in which you were born. It provides an opportunity for identity theft.
- Don’t default. Keep track of your privacy settings and check them on a regular basis or at least monthly. Don’t assume that default settings will keep you safe.
- Timeline review. Make sure your privacy settings enable you to review content in which friends have tagged you before they appear publicly on your page. Review your Facebook Timelines settings.
- Keep your friends in check. If a friend posts something about you that makes you uncomfortable or you think is inappropriate, let them know.
- Third party caution. Don’t allow online games and other entertainment apps unfettered access to your information. Review which applications are linked to your Facebook profile.
- Only connect with real people you actually know. Never accept a friend request from someone you don’t know — even when someone appears as a mutual friend of a friend or several friends.
- Password protection. Use a secure password that’s different from the one for your email when you open a new account. Change it frequently and don’t enable auto login. Google’s tips for creating a strong password.
- Keep your contacts safe. Never allow an app to access to your contacts in your mail or on your phone.
Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to protecting your personal information. The goal of social networking sites is to generate revenue. Though the service may be free, there’s the hidden cost of your privacy. It’s up to you to limit your exposure and protect yourself. Social networking is meant to be fun. Keep it that way by staying safe online!