Tips to stay safe on Facebook
Social networking is here to stay, so we had better learn how to harness and control its power.
In our previous article, we discussed the ways Facebook can be used to help fight crime, giving law enforcement a much-needed tool in locating and apprehending criminals. Click here to read the previous article: “Social Media Becoming an Increasingly Important Law Enforcement Tool.”
In this article, we will attempt to educate our readers on how to best protect themselves from on-line threats involving Facebook and other social networking sites.
Imagine this tragic scenario: Your child is new to Facebook and is attempting to connect with as many “friends” as possible to keep up with her peers. Unfortunately, this competition gets the best of her and she accepts a “friend request” that is not legitimate.
Instead of an actual friend on the other end of the computer, she has befriended a pedophile who now has access to photographs and other personal information.
If you are familiar with our articles, you can guess the outcome of this scenario. Following a few Facebook safety tips may prevent a tragedy while allowing for a fun social networking experience.
Facebook Safety Tips
- “If they’re not your friend, don’t pretend.” Do not accept friend requests unless you absolutely know who they are and that you would associate with them in person.
- Post only what you want made public. Be cautious about the personal information you post on any social media site. There is a very good chance that it will spread beyond your original submission.
- Manage your privacy settings. Sixty percent of social network users are unaware of their default privacy settings.
- Do not carelessly respond to “friends in distress.” If you receive a post requesting money to help a friend, do the smart thing and call them in person. “Friends in Distress” schemes are when a thief takes over someone else’s account and then makes a plea for financial help.
- Do not place your personal information on your Facebook profile. Items such as your address, phone number, and date of birth will all become very public information instantly.
- Be careful when placing photographs of you or your children on Facebook. Please ensure that you have all your privacy settings set to maximum.
- Do not leave your computer on with your Facebook account open. Leaving access to your Facebook account is the equivalent of leaving your wallet or cellphone on a park bench. Anyone can sit down and start making posts to your Wall, redesigning your site, or even entice friends to play the greatest prank on you in your life. Be sure to sign out.
- Be sure to have virus software for your computer and keep it updated. There are several viruses that attack your email address library. The viruses then send out posts to everyone in your library, asking them to become your friend on Facebook while giving them the same virus.
Whether you are new to Facebook or a longtime user, you should be diligent in protecting yourself, your family,and your friends.
Facebook says you should “own your space.” This is exactly what you should do, and the best way for you to own your space is to be aware and practice all of the safety and security measures that are available.