Staying safe on social media
With the rampant use of social media nowadays, staying safe online should be one of our priorities. Besides blogging, I also work as a fraud investigator so I’ve gone through some amount of training regarding online security which is why I’m very careful with the information I share on my social media. I do share information on my personal Facebook profile but I have changed the security settings of my account so only certain information is shown to everyone and some information is shown to others. I’ve noticed that a lot of people, especially parents, tend to share so much about their kids on social media that it makes me scared to know that someone with bad intentions can be watching that, which is why I decided to write this post on how to stay safe while on social media. These tips can be applied to everyone but I believe they can be used especially by parents. I’m sure you’ve all heard or read of men stealing children’s pictures from parents’ social media and claiming them as their own. Hopefully these tips can help you keep your children safer without giving up social media all together.
1. Check the settings on all of your social media accounts.
This one is the most important one because a lot of people have their social media accounts public without even realizing it. By having them public, all of their location information as well as pictures are also being made public. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all have the option to make them private. You also have the option on Facebook to make your information only available to certain people. That is all under the settings. Make some changes and check to see how it looks to the public, your friends and the certain people who will have complete access. That can also be done in the settings, it’s the setting where it states, “View profile as…”, and you can enter the person’s name or public.
2. Check-in to places once you have left or are about to leave a location.
If you’re a person who likes checking into places on all social media (like me), if you have random people as friends or followers (why you would have this in the first place, I don’t know) for whatever reason, then make sure you check-in either as you’re about to leave or once you’ve left. Reason? You don’t want random people showing up because they know where you’re at, especially because you never know if you have a stalker among those followers. This is especially important if you have children because if for any reason, you leave them alone for a split second, someone can take them from there. Now, this wouldn’t apply if you’re in a big place with thousands of people (such as Disneyland) because it’s a little harder to find you. It might seem a little extreme but it’s better to be safe than sorry. You can always go back after the fact to the posts or pictures and edit/add the locations. Facebook and Instagram both have this edit option.
3. Remove the geo-tag location from the picture settings on your phone.
If you take pics at home or at your children’s school and you lose your phone, people will know where you live, where your children go to school and what they look like. Remove this even if you have all kinds of security settings on your phone. Remember, that some hackers are really good and know how to hack into devices.
4. Never tag or mention where your child/children goes to school on social media.
The last thing you want is someone knowing where they can find your child to kidnap them. Yes, children cannot be picked up without the parent’s permission, but still, why would you want everyone to know where they’re left alone all day? Also, there have been cases where schools have let children go home with people who are not authorized to pick them up. Now, if your Facebook profile only has very close friends and family, then this might be something you don’t need to pay that much attention to.
5. Never tag the location of your home on Instagram or Facebook.
Your exact address location can be found by zooming in on the map of your location. Believe me, I’ve tried this just to prove my point. If you’ve already done this, on Facebook you can just remove the location. On Instagram, go to the location tab on your profile. It’s the third tab above your photos. Once you click it, it will show you all of the locations tagged on your pictures. Zoom in until you find the ones you want to remove. Click “edit” and then click on the picture/s you would like to remove the location from. It’s that easy.
Hope these tips help you in staying safe while using social media. Let me know if you put them into practice or if you have any other questions.