Social media sure has its advantages, which is why it has become such a big part of everyone’s life.
You can stay in touch with your friends, keep an eye on important events happening around you and in the entire world, as well as express yourself and connect with others who share the same view. But exactly because it helps so many people connect, oftentimes protecting their anonymity, it can also serve as a powerful tool for bad-intentioned people to your private life.
To prevent that from happening, you need to be extra careful with what you share and how public you decide to make your life. Below is a list of tips to help keep you safe and protected online.
Keep a private profile
To keep their users as protected as possible, most social media platforms give the option to keep your profile private. This means that the only people who can see your posts are those you decide to become friends with. While some social media networks have general privacy settings, where you can choose to make your profile either public or private, others, such as Facebook, offer you individual control over each and every post you make. This means that you can choose to share that song you like with everybody, but keep the photos of you and your family visible only to your friends.
Make sure to always check the privacy settings and customize them according to how you want your online presence to be. If you want to use social media to stay in touch with those close to you, then it is advised that you keep a private profile, to have better control over who can see it.
On the other hand, if you want to establish an online presence, you will have to keep a public profile and pay attention to what and when you share. Some of those who have decided to build an online presence do have some tricks up their sleeve, such as posting about a place they’ve been to after they have already left and so on.
Know who you are communicating with
Becoming friends with someone on social media does not necessarily mean they have your best interest at heart, so make sure to always know who you are talking to before you open up too much about your private life. There can always be someone else behind the screen and just because they have photos that look real, it doesn’t always mean they are who they say they are.
The best recommendation is to only accept friend or follow requests from people you know, but if you do want to use social media as a way to get to know more people and connect with others, keeping an eye open is a must. If something seems fishy, oftentimes it is, so trust your gut and, if necessary, even perform a free background check to make sure you are speaking with someone real.
Never meet in a private location with someone you just met online and don’t tell them what you do or where you are at all times. If something seems out of the ordinary, block and report the person as quickly as possible.
Choose strong passwords
Always make sure to use a strong password for your social media accounts. Choose different passwords for every account, to make sure that, in the event of someone figuring out your Facebook password, for example, they don’t get access to your email and other accounts as well.
Some websites check the strength of your password and notify you when it might be too easy, so take advantage of that. Others require you to use both letters and numbers, as well as special characters, for extra strength, to help you make your password stronger. And no, using your pet’s name and your birth year is not a safe password. The safest passwords are made up of things that don’t have a direct connection with you, such as a combination of random words, numbers and special characters.
If you fear you might forget your password, there is always the option to use a password manager to keep them all secure, so you might want to look that up.
Keep location off when you don’t need it
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when installing or using an app is overlooking the location settings. When location sharing is on, it means that, if you post something on social media, it will automatically show the location of your post. Some apps even come with location sharing turned on by default, so make sure to check this twice.
The best way to avoid that is to set up our phone, so that it always asks before turning on location settings. This way, you will make sure the app doesn’t automatically share your location with every post. If you want to let everyone know where you took that beautiful photo, you can always turn on the location only for posts you want or manually introduce the location yourself.
Be careful what you click on
Never click on links if you don’t know who the sender is or what their provenience might be. Install a good antivirus software, to protect you from any malware that you may encounter online and keep your computer and phone safe. If you get a random message that has a link in it, chances are it is a malware and can threaten the safety of your device.
The same thing goes for attachments you find in emails. Never download anything if you don’t know for sure what it is. Attachments can contain viruses, which can infect your computer and compromise your files. Sometimes it can get even worse, as they can contain spyware or keyloggers, which can intercept your passwords and give hackers access to your accounts and data. Make sure to always perform a virus check every time you wish to download a file, to be sure it is what it claims is it.