With several social networking sites that have hit the scene, the vulnerabilities and risks associated with them have also gone up. Women, in particular, face a lot of issues when it comes to cyber safety.
Being cyber-stalked or harassed is not uncommon and one needs to be particularly careful in protecting one’s online privacy. Here are some rules for a safer social networking experience.
Before joining a social networking site, ensure you read all about how it works. Read about the privacy policies and the terms and conditions. Different sites have different default settings when it comes to privacy, and who can view your profile.
This is one of the most common mistakes we make – blindly clicking on the “I agree” button without actually reading the terms and conditions.
Remember that this can come back to bite you in the back if there’s trouble at a later point in time. Once you sign up, revisit all the privacy settings and modify them accordingly.
Don’t post personal information such as mobile numbers and personal email ids on social networking sites.
This information is meant for family and friends who will certainly have the information already. Why let anyone and everyone access this information?
Of course, social networking sites do allow you to choose who views this information, but then, be cautious while posting.
Also, don’t put up information that will allow people to locate you offline, such as your home address and work location.
Be extremely cautious while posting photographs and control who can view them. Bear in mind that photos can be saved and altered – you don’t want to regret having posted a particular photo, at a later stage!
Create restricted user groups who can view photos. Also, don’t post embarrassing pictures of others.
Use strong passwords and use different passwords for different accounts. Social networking sites are very easily hacked into and information can be modified. So ensure that you don’t use weak passwords with personal information such as your birthday or your dog’s name.
Go crazy with your keyboard when it comes to choosing a password, and mix up those letters, numbers and special characters. Your password should be one that is difficult to guess.
Also, don’t share your password with anyone or let anybody else handle your account. What is seen as trust or some harmless fun, can have severe consequences.
Don’t accept “friend requests” from people totally unknown to you and from those that you don’t want to interact with. If you are being bothered by someone already on your friend’s list, feel free to block them! You get to choose who you want to interact with; don’t be “nice” and put up with any inconvenience.
Ensure your computer has a good antivirus and anti spyware software. A lot of applications on social networking sites can be malicious, and if your computer is not well protected, it can result in a lot of issues.
Last, but not the least, trust your instinct. If you are being subjected to any form of cyber bullying or harassment, report it at once!
Remember that information that you post once on the internet cannot be erased. Use your common sense and utmost caution when you publish anything. A lot of cyber crime can be prevented simply by exercising caution.
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