There is no way to avoid social media networks these days. Everyone is on Twitter and Facebook and it’s the best way to stay in touch with almost everyone you know. Over the course of the last decade these platforms have also diversified to include so much more than just contacts, you can plan weddings on Facebook, orchestrate a protest, conduct an interview. Social media is a useful tool, no doubt about it. But it is also a very dangerous tool if you don’t keep a check on your privacy and security settings.
Be aware of the risk of hackers, viruses , identity thieves and spammers. Social media is full of them and you should what they are so you can know how to and when to avoid them.
Avoid clicking on links that seem shady, even when they seem like they are coming from someone you know and trust. Often links that look like gibberish are dropped into people’s windows and they are asked to click in return for something. Sometimes it is the promise of a dirty video and at other times it has been a free iPhone. In both cases, if you don’t understand why someone would send you the link then don’t click on it.
Don’t advertise sensitive information about yourself on social media. For instance, if your security question was “the name of your first pet” and you keep talking about how much you miss your little Tabitha then someone might be taking notice and if they try to crack your account all they need to do is spell the cat’s name right. Instead, never actually answer the questions right if you want to stay safe. If the question is “what is your mother’s maiden name” answer with something like “bottle green juice”. Of course you should always remember what you switched it out with, it’s no use have the security question if you forget the answer yourself.
Keep a check on whether your posts are public or not. Often people can steal your pictures and your information because you haven’t been using the right kind of privacy settings. Facebook lets you control who sees what on your timeline. And Twitter also allows you to lock down your tweets so only people you allow to follow you can see them. Educate yourself on what you can and cannot do.
Do not add people that you don’t know. This should be simple common sense but for a lot of people it isn’t. Stalkers, abusers, pedophiles etc. have been known to find their victims online. There is no reason for you to talk to people that you can’t identify and in many cases it can land you into a lot of trouble.
Being safe on social media networks has a lot to do with how you use social media networks. At this point some people only use them for work, while others use them only for family, and some do a mixture of both. Depending on the audience you have online you should alter your behavior to avoid trouble, in addition to everything else.