Social media usage should be compared to driving a vehicle-the safety level depends on the user. If you are a good driver, follow the rules of the road, pay attention to the road you, and should be able to make it through life with very few hiccups. If you are a bad driver, well it can cause severe damage and sometimes ruin a life. Now, I am not saying you should have to get a license or be a certain age to use social media. However, I do think if you are going to get behind your phone and post your entire life for everyone to see, you should understand how it works. So here are 5 social media safety tips to help you stay safe online.
1) Passwords are Your First Line of Defense
Passwords are your main line of defense when it comes to protecting your information and social media profiles. Your password should be unique for every account you own . Under no circumstances should you “recycle” passwords that you use for your banking or billing paying application because if your profile gets hacked, now you bank can be too!
Passwords should be strong, which means longer than 8 characters and including upper case letters, lower case letters and numbers. Also make sure you avoid the obvious password phrases like dates of birth, addresses, phone numbers, anniversary’s and names of children or pets. Lastly, keep your password private! If you give it out, what is the point of having it?
2) Don’t Fall for Phishing Attempts
Have you ever clicked on a post to take a survey and gave it access to your profile? Why did that application need access to your ENTIRE profile? Because it was really phishing, and you clicked yes.
Phishing attempts happen on social media all the time. In this situation, I would go change your password and check your privacy settings. You can remove access to any application you have granted access to in the past. Also, be wary of any Direct Massages that seem “off”, do not click on links you do not know and reach out to the friend or profile that sent you’re the message. They may have been hacked!
3) Copy and Paste doesn’t do ANTHING to your profile
Recently, the big trend is these posts going around saying “Copy and Paste to see more friends“, or “Copy and Paste = they will HACK your ACCOUNT”. Neither is true. Copy and pasting is just that… copying content and pasting it on your page as a post. The only time this may matter is if you are copying and pasting a post that has a link in it and that link takes people to a scam site, then you are sharing a phishing attempt. But other than that, it is nothing but an internet hoax and a waste of your time.
4) Share with Care, it Really Does Stay Online Forever
From blackmail and cyber bullying to sexual predators and human trafficking, social media connects everyone good and bad. If you are smart with what you post and share, then just like being a good driver, this shouldn’t affect you. On that note, before you copy and paste or post anything online, make sure it really is what you think it is. Everything you post online stays online! Many colleges and employers these days will look at social media before deciding to hire or accepted applications. This is really where the real dangers of social media come in to play for professionals: in how people may use you, your information and your images/video to hurt you.
5) Think Before You Connect
Lastly, think before you connect. We’ve all used Google or Facebook to connect apps on our phones or computers. And while there are many applications out there that request access to your social media profiles that are not phishing attempts, they request more information than they really need.
This is where your common sense comes in to play. Does that candy matching game really need access to your phone book? How does Aunt Patty’s phone number help me pass this stupid level? If you take a few minutes and read what the application wants access to for you to keep track of your progress, you may find it is not worth it to you.
We hope these tips help clear up some of the misconceptions about the power of social media. Remember: if you are ever in doubt, just change your password and remove permissions for any applications. This should give your full control over your profile again.