Staying Safe on Social Media

Social media is a great way to keep in touch with friends, family, and business acquaintances both near and far. However, as these sites grow more and more a part of daily life and as entire generations have grown up with them in the palm of their hands, it’s worth examining how to safely share.

Privacy First

In talking about keeping your social media presence secure, the first step is setting your account to private. If you do not have your account set to private, anyone can view your account, posts, videos, images, and so on. Be sure to check the detailed privacy options on each platform for your full array of options. It’s best that you screen each potential connection, verify it’s someone you know, and then accept.

Save it, Don’t Share it

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There are lots of things we should avoid sharing on social media, because it could put you or your finances in real life danger. Never share your physical location in real time. Although geotagging is a fun feature of social media, when done in real time, you’re giving hundreds if not thousands of strangers a roadmap to find you. Instead wait until you get home from the restaurant or football game or do it the next day.

Similarly, don’t share details about your home or work location. Some people find it fun to share snapshots or videos of their day but be sure to avoid identifying information of the exterior of your location such as street signs or numbers. Cyber-stalkers could accumulate all this information over time, and you could be at risk for a robbery.

Finally, avoid sharing old photos of grandma or your first pet. Maybe you’re feeling nostalgic for that first house on Mango Street. But don’t share those details online because they are a hacker’s dream. These are all the security questions when you’ve forgotten your password. Also avoid anything that would be a hint towards your current password.

My Friends Already Know All of This

Perhaps you’re thinking but wait – I set my account to private, and my friends already know where I’m going to dinner, where I work, and my first dog’s name. They’re my friends, shouldn’t it be safe? Unfortunately, social media pages are susceptible to hacks. We’ve all seen that one friend from high school who suddenly starts offering $10k cash – all we have to do is click the link. And immediately, we all know, Katie got hacked. So, although we’re among friends on social media, we still have to be alert and take precautions.