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Social Networking and Internet Safety

Social Networking Safety Tips

How much information is too much information in this day and age of social networking? Are you unintentionally putting yourself at risk by revealing where you are and what you are doing with your tweets and updates or by having GPS or Geotags?

The speed and visibility of social media makes for a fun experience and great entertainment, but it also creates an opportunity to embarrass yourself or others, jeopardize your employment or, worse still, compromise your safety or your identity.

It used to be enough for us to think about our physical security, such as what type of door locks we should use, or whether or not to have an alarm system installed, but now we also need to think about our online safety and whether our online persona is equally safe. Protecting yourself means thinking about what you post and managing your Internet persona on all the various social network sites that are at your disposal.

Social Networking Safety Tips for Home Use

Use the privacy settings for each social media site and review or update them on a regular basis. Decide how visible you want your contact and profile information, photos, videos and postings to be, and then take the time to learn how to set the right level of control. Restrict delivery of information and photos to only those in your circle of friends.

  • make a conscious choice as to how searchable you want to be, and set up your profile the way you want it rather than leaving it to the default settings
  • don't share information that can help people steal your identity or locate you, such as your date of birth, address or personal information
  • be cautious when sharing your work, school and family connections, as these can help an identity thief steal your “profile”
  • check into your ability to opt-out with advertisers and third parties, as each “add-on” for social networking will have access to your information, so be careful with the applications you add
  • don’t advertise the fact that you’ve just purchased new electronics like a computer, big screen TV, etc., because even if you trust your friends, do you know their friends and friends of friends?

Social Networking Safety Tips While You’re on Vacation

There are a few reasons why you should hold off from posting your vacation details and photos until you’re home.

  • sending updates while you’re away advertises to everyone that you are not home - that means your unoccupied residence can be that much more vulnerable to people who are trolling the web for personal information
  • before you post, think hard about the content of your post and whether it can be used by someone who may be involved in criminal activity
  • ensure everyone in your house understands the rules you set about sharing information while you’re away
  • never share details about the dates you’ll be away or whether children will be left home alone
  • switch off or disconnect the location applications if you’re using social media while on vacation
  • take a break – vacations are also a great time to disconnect from the social networking world for awhile!

Social networking is here to stay and it’s up to each person using it to protect themselves as best as they can. Take the time to understand and apply the security settings so that you will be less likely to be preyed upon by those seeking to use your personal information in a nefarious manner.

Protecting your on-line persona is just one part of planning your personal safety. For more tips, visit our page on personal safety.

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