4 Safe Ways To Use Social Media
Nowadays, social media websites have become a necessity, not only to keep in touch with friends and family but also to keep yourself updated on what is happening in the world. With so many social media platforms to choose from, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and more, you are sure to find something that suits your needs. However, the usage of social media platforms can introduce some risks. I’m sure you’ve heard about identity theft and cyber-bullying, which can affect people of all ages? Are you interested in a few ways you can protect yourself?
1. Make your profile private and be cautious about what you post online.
Especially when using Facebook, where you are more likely to post private information and only connect with friends and family, you should remember to make your profile private. Which means, people who are not on your friends’ or family list cannot access your information. You should also be cautious of those on your friends list, by thinking twice about what you post on Facebook. Avoid negative posts about people, especially those within your network. Some people have lost jobs and friends due to bad-mouthing.
Privatising your profile is trickier to do with social media websites such as Twitter because the platform is for connecting with public figures. You can, however, make your profile private, so that people who would like to follow you need to ask for permission. Meaning, you need to authorize them to view your page.
2. Keep your firewall security and anti-virus software up to date.
Protecting your computer is a necessity when you are allowing your information to be accessible online. In a very sneaky way, viruses can find their way onto your computer. When you use apps like games on Facebook or other social media, they often ask for permission to access your information. This is a tough call. While most applications created by big corporations are safe for use, you should always read the small print. When in doubt, contact the company directly. Also, when updates are available, do the updates. If you are unsure about an app or game, Google search them to see if there are any complaints.
3. Use a strong password and security question.
It may seem obvious, but choosing a long password containing numbers or upper-case letters can make a difference in securing your account. Similarly, selecting strong security questions is also important. If a lot of people know what your maiden name is or the name of your first pet, then maybe this isn’t the best security question to use. Some social media websites give you the opportunity to create your own security questions, which would be the most secure option. This way, anyone trying to hack into your account not only has to figure out your answer but also your question.
4. Don’t click on suspicious links.
If a link seems suspicious, it probably is. Web sites that don’t show a credible name or feature a lot of letters often redirect you to unsafe webpages. Luckily, your computer can recognise a lot of these and will ask you if you definitely want to visit the page, but not all. Be cautious about websites which claim you can win money or holidays, as they are often information-seekers or will ask for money at some point (even if it seems to be free). Another link to look out for are poorly translated ones, with poor grammar. They are most likely going to redirect you to a website abroad, and if they steal your information, it’s going to be even harder to protect yourself.
As with everything else, when trying new things, use with caution.