In today’s digital age, social media platforms have become an integral part of our daily lives, offering us the opportunity to connect, share, and engage with others. However, with the increasing popularity of social media comes the need for heightened awareness about safety and privacy. Ensuring your online safety is crucial to protect yourself from various online threats, such as identity theft, cyberbullying, and scams. This article will provide you with 8 essential social media safety tips to help you navigate the digital landscape with confidence and protect your personal information, reputation, and overall well-being.
Tip #1: Be cautious about sharing your location and daily routines
Avoid sharing your live location or daily routines on social media. Posting vacation photos while you’re away from home can alert potential thieves that your house is unoccupied. Instead, collect your photos during the trip and share them once you’ve returned. Similarly, refrain from posting about your daily routines as it can give stalkers information about your whereabouts and inform thieves when you’re not at home.
Tip #2: Avoid sharing identification numbers
Never share sensitive identification and financial information like your Social Security Number (SSN), driver’s license number, bank account number, or passport number on social media. This information can be used for immediate identity theft and other malicious activities. Even seemingly harmless documents like your driver’s license, passport, or first paycheck should not be flaunted on social media. If you feel the need to share such documents, ensure that your personally identifying numbers or information is not visible.
Tip #3: Limit the amount of personal information shared in the “About” section
Social media platforms provide various fields to share personal information, but it’s important to be selective. Consider leaving certain fields blank or providing general answers instead of specific details. For example, mention the industry you work in instead of a specific employer. Even seemingly harmless information like your maiden name or hometown can assist hackers in cracking your security questions.
Tip #4: Only accept connection requests from known individuals
Exercise caution when accepting followers and friend requests on social media. It is advisable to only accept requests from people you personally know. If you maintain a public persona, consider creating a separate account to manage your personal connections. Remember that even if you are cautious about your own posts, your friends’ posts can reveal information about you. Additionally, fake accounts can be used for scams, fraud, and blackmail campaigns.
Tip #5: Create strong and unique passwords:
Ensure that your passwords are secure by following basic guidelines. Avoid using common and easily guessable passwords such as “password,” your username, or personal information like your anniversary. Longer passwords are generally stronger, so aim for a minimum of 12 characters, ideally closer to 16. Each additional character significantly increases the difficulty for hackers to crack your password. Having a unique and secure password for each online account is one of the most important and best methods to minimise the risk of your accounts being compromised. If you tend to forget passwords, then you could opt for downloading a password manager to store and manage your passwords.
Tip #6: Always enable two-factor authentication:
Two-factor authentication can often feel annoying, but it significantly makes your social media account much more secure. Utilise two-factor authentication to improve your security and reduce the risk of your profile being compromised. It is simple to use and only requires a code from an app on your phone, alternatively you can use an authentication app as well as your password.
Two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security due to it requiring both your password and the correct device to log in. It is best to steer away from SMS authentication as some hackers can copy your number and receive messages that you receive.
Tip #7: Review and adjust your profile’s privacy settings:
Most people will just click accept when it comes to privacy settings on social media accounts, but default settings will not give you enough protection. This is why it is important to understand and adjust the settings to your preferences.
To do this properly, you should also review the visibility of your account information for various users including friends, friends of friends and unregistered users. Privacy settings don’t just cover posts, it also covers your profile data, comments and other online activities on third-party websites,
Tip #8: If you have unrecognised logins on various devices, ensure you log out.
Social media platforms often provide options to view and manage active sessions. If you notice any unrecognised logins, sign out of all open sessions to ensure your account’s security. Although this may require signing back in on your trusted devices, it is worth the effort to protect your accounts from unauthorised access.
Protecting your personal information on social media is essential in today’s digital age. By implementing a few key strategies, you can safeguard your privacy and mitigate the risk of unauthorised access or misuse of your personal data.
By implementing these measures, you can enhance your online privacy and minimise the potential risks associated with sharing personal information on social media. Remember, protecting your personal data is an ongoing process that requires vigilance and awareness in today’s ever-evolving digital landscape. If you are struggling to keep up with the minefield that is cyber security, then speaking to someone about cyber security services will be able to give you all the advice to keep you safe.