Social Media Safety Tips
Worried about how much of your private information is on the internet and vulnerable to theft or misuse? Online privacy is an important issue. But there are steps you can take to protect your financial and personal information while you visit your favorite social media, news, and entertainment sites.
Here are some ways you can boost your online privacy.
- Learn to use each service or app’s privacy settings.
- Don’t let friends or strangers pressure you to be someone you aren’t. And know your limits. You may be internet savvy, but people and relationships change, and unexpected stuff can happen on the internet.
- Be nice online and treat people the way you’d want to be treated. People who are nasty and aggressive online are at greater risk of being bullied or harassed themselves. If someone’s mean to you, try not to react, definitely don’t retaliate. Use privacy tools to block anyone who is being mean
- Think about what you post. Sharing provocative photos or intimate details online, even in private emails, can cause you problems later on. Even people you consider friends can use this info against you, especially if they become ex-friends. And even if they remain good friends, they can be hacked, their device can be stolen or they could accidentally forward what you sent them.
- Read between the “lines.” It may be fun to check out new people for friendship or romance, but be aware that, while some people are nice, others act nice because they’re trying to get something. Flattering or supportive messages may be more about manipulation than friendship or romance.
- Avoid in-person meetings. The only way someone can physically harm you is if you’re both in the same location, so – to be 100% safe – don’t meet them in person. If you really must get together with someone you “met” online, don’t go alone. Have the meeting in a public place, tell a parent or some other solid backup, and bring some friends along.
A smart way to help protect your privacy online?
Don’t overshare on social media. Providing too much information on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram could make it easier for cybercriminals to obtain identifying information, which could allow them to steal your identity or to access your financial information.
To protect your online privacy, ignore the “About Me” fields in your social media profiles. You don’t have to let people know what year or where you were born — which could make you an easier target for identity theft. Explore different privacy settings, too. You might want to limit the people who can view your posts to those you’ve personally invited.
Create strong passwords, too, for your social media profiles to help prevent others from logging into them in your name. This means using a combination of at least 10 numbers, special characters, and upper- and lower-case letters. And never use personal, easy-to-guess information — such as your birthdate or pet’s name — as your password.