Social media networking has been accepted by the majority of the general population and one can say that it is becoming a way of life rather than just a trend. Why shouldn't it be? Social media lets anyone reach out to everyone in all part of the world. The most tempting part about it is that it is actually free to participate in these social networking sites. However, if you think about it, the actual cost that you have to pay if you get lured into the bait of social media is far more valuable- your privacy and your safety.
Every day, you will have this impulse desire to share your thoughts, activities and your whereabouts, making your privacy vulnerable for public consumption. You might think that it is harmless but the information that you give every now and then will prove to be a useful opening for those who plan on stalking you. Although you don't want to feel paranoid that someone might be watching your every move, it would still help if you can protect yourself and practice social media safety.
– Privacy is a valuable thing that should be protected well. In the world of social media, all your posts are considered as available for public access. Yes, you might have set your privacy within certain security settings, but whatever pertinent or confidential information that you have posted in that site will have the potential to be used against you. The only way that you can protect your privacy in social media would be to avoid posting anything too personal at all.
– Geo-location applications make you stalker-friendly. It can be quite entertaining to inform other people that you've checked in on this restaurant or that you are currently at home after a day's work, but by making your whereabouts known to everyone on your network, you're making yourself vulnerable not only to cyberstalking but to actual stalking as well. If you don't believe that these incidents actually happen, then this related statistic might open your eyes- it was found that 1 out of 6 women have been stalked at least once in their life.
– Be mindful of the privacy and security settings. Once you sign-up for a social networking site, your settings will be set on default. Since the purpose of a social media site would be to connect you to other people, this means that default settings can be synonymous to being publicly-accessible. Make it a habit to track these settings every now and then in order to make sure that you have control over the information that you want to share.
– Tag, you're it. Tagging might start as an innocent move to make others know that they are with these people at certain events, or that a discussion is more or less within a determined set of people. However, these moments can actually catch you off guard especially if the tagging is related to candid photos or posts which can be interpreted as malicious to others. Most social media sites provide an option where you can approve the tagged content before it can go live on your page.
– Private messages should be sent privately. Orient your family to exchange private messages and information by using the private messaging functions rather than posting it on your wall.
– Be mindful of letting applications access your information. Before you actually use an application, you will be prompted that they must be provided with access to your information, and these can include the personal information that you have used to create the account. For people who are keen on knowing things about you, these tiny pieces of information can be stitched together to become something majorly useful.
– Create a professional account and a private profile. Dedicate one account for your professional networks and create one for your personal use. The professional social media account can be made public especially if you are running a business and you want to establish as much connection or market your services. The private account, however, should only be accessible to the people that you actually know and trust such as your family and your friends. Lastly, don't feel guilty that you can't approve a stranger's request to be your friend in your private account.
So while it's true that being active in social media could mean exposure and lowered chances of getting privacy, it doesn't have to be unsafe when you're in there. Girl, you just need to know how to protect yourself while getting social media active – and you're gonna be fine.