It’s pretty well understood that in one form or another, social media is a part of our lives. What isn’t so cut and dry is how we can do better to protect ourselves while using these great forms of communication. I decided to add in a few ideas that people can use to protect themselves and still get good use from their chosen platforms.

  1.  Do not list your phone numbers publicly. I cannot stress this enough. Some programs let you list your phone number in your profile and a few people are all too willing to throw out this information. The reason you shouldn’t is to help protect yourself from unwanted contact. I’ve seen a few times where a young teenage lady I wasn’t even friends with, had her number publicly listed. If I was going to stalk her, I already had enough information to get started right there. Just don’t do it.
  2.  Stop adding your place of employment to your profile. I get it. You are thrilled about your new job and want to tell the world. This can backfire on you in quite a few ways. If someone really really hated you, they could start pestering your boss about getting you fired. Imagine your employer getting a few phone calls a day about you, and how unhappy they would be at all this attention on your behalf. Not only that, but like your phone number, If someone wanted to start stalking you, they now had a location to start from.
  3. Watch out what you like and share. Some of these advertisers have no sense of moral decency and will use a sick child or wounded veteran in order to get you to like their pages or posts. This is predominant on sites like Facebook. After using you to get enough likes, shares and other exposure, they will change their post and page to advertising. You aren’t a bad person by scrolling and ignoring the post and any real friends won’t say anything bad to you about it. Only you have the power to end this cycle of deception.
  4. Be careful of the pictures you share. Most sites have it in fine print under the terms of service that anything you share, they can sell for profit and you don’t get anything from it. You may one day end up seeing your photos from a day at the beach used in an advertisement for vacations. By this point you have no way to have it removed. You can ask the company behind the advertisement to remove it, but as long as they purchased the rights to use it, they don’t have to do so.
  5.  Nude photos are almost impossible to delete once sent out. You should always be wary about posting nude photos as you never know where they will end up and who will see them.
  6.  Be careful what information you save. I used to work for a company that worked on computers. Many times customers sent in their computers and I was able to see a list of websites they used and oftentimes they even had their login names and passwords saved. I would have no problems logging in as them and using their information for nefarious purposes. Never save your passwords if you can avoid it and be sure to delete all internet browsing and saved passwords before sending your device off to be serviced.
  7. Never share times when you won’t be home. For example, work schedules or vacation plans. You don’t want word getting around of when your house will be empty. It only takes a brief moment for someone to break into your home. They’ll most likely be long gone before you or the police ever get there.
  8.  Cut out people who are toxic to you. If you have someone on your friends list and they are just making your life more difficult, don’t hesitate to remove them, even if it is family. You’d be surprised how long throughout the day your mood will be fouled because of a single negative post.
  9.  Don’t be a jerk to other people.
  10.  Always keep your loved ones close to you. Even if they are online, it never hurts to spend personal time with them offline.

I suppose that covered all I could think of. Feel free to comment if you could think of some more good tips and ideas.