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Social Media: Protect Yourself

Safety First

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As summer wraps up, a lot of people are trying to squeeze in one last summer vacation. Awesome! Getaway before the kids go back to school and you’re bogged down with bedtimes and homework again, but please do not post your vacation on Facebook until you’ve returned. Even in this voyeur laden society, only 37% of people have even taken the time to figure out the privacy setting features on Facebook, thus making themselves susceptible to every creeper the internet has to offer. Do you really want your daughter’s shady friend-who you don’t approve of- knowing that your house is going to be empty for a week? Better yet, do you want all of his friends to know?

The sickeningly low number of people who have adjusted their privacy settings is terrifying, especially given a number of people who are posting pictures of their children, their cars, their workplaces, and their homes. We are inviting people into our lives with reckless abandon, paying very little attention to who is watching.

While your social media profile is your chance to have a voice or connect with your high school friends, it’s also the internet and it would behoove more people to remember that. At least adhere to a few simple tricks and tips to keep yourself and your loved ones safe on your social media platforms.

Safety First

  • Set Up Privacy – It’s not foolproof, that is the first thing you need to remember. There are people that can get past anything you set up, but the average Facebook user won’t. In the settings tab, go to privacy and adjust accordingly. If you don’t want your ex-boss to see where you’re working now, adjust your audiences.   Facebook has customization adjustments for a reason.
    • Sidenote: Remember that when you’re sharing something directly from Instagram to Facebook, it will not select your custom audience so be wary of that. You can post it on both channels manually or recognize that everyone on your friend’s list can see it.
  • Don’t Overshare – Don’t take pictures of your house with the numbers visible. Don’t take pictures of your kids at the bus stop with the cross street signs above their innocent little heads. Common sense would tell the average person not to post photos of their driver’s licenses, credit/debit cards, or social security cards on the internet, but alas, it needs to be stated for a reason. Be careful what you’re showing people, even people who were once very close to you.
  • Recognize the Difference Between Friend and Someone You Used to Know – It’s easy to get a friend request from someone and immediately accept it and start a quick chat with them, but think before you share too much. Is the person with whom you’re speaking an actual friend or are they simply someone you connected with briefly? The distinction is important. Don’t tell a potential suitor, that you have yet to meet, the exact location of your employer. Don’t tell Casey from elementary school about your big, important job and the crazy amount of money you make.
  • Don’t Profess Vulnerability – Don’t tell your entire friends list that you’re headed out of town for seven days, starting on Saturday and that you’ve kenneled the dog. Don’t let people know that your husband is out of town and you don’t know how to work the alarm system. You could end up a victim of a crime as a result of something you shared on social media and it’s not only going to be embarrassing to explain, but it may be a grave mistake.
  • Use Caution When Meeting People in Person – Since Facebook added their handy private sales platform, there’s a more dangerous element to social media these days. You have the ability to meet up with people to exchange goods for reasonable prices. Sounds perfect, right? It could be, but it could also be horrifically dangerous. If meeting with a perfect stranger, don’t go alone or if you don’t have a choice meet in a very public, very well lit location during daylight hours.

If you haven’t yet learned the lesson that not everyone can be trusted, social media is a great teacher. Even something as simple as a statement you made two years ago getting thrown in your face can be one of the negative impacts of not protecting yourself. Don’t learn any of these lessons the hard way.

LMG 7/2017

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