Disclaimer: I, in no way, shape or form, profess to be a technical expert. This post comes purely from the school of hard knocks and because I care about you.
There are multiple reasons that I spend a lot of time on social media. Mostly, because it helps me stay connected to friends I have made from my global adventures but also because I need it for my work.
There are a few things that I routinely do or pay close attention to that, to me, seem like no brainers. But when I scroll through my social media feeds, it is clear that others don’t feel the same way. I wonder if they know and just don’t care or if they just don’t know.
Because I care and because I may or may not be slightly OCD, here is my PSA for you with some easy ways you can protect yourself online. This is not comprehensive by any stretch. We all know how rapidly the game changes out there. It’s impossible to keep up.
Check your settings often! Facebook likes to keep us on our toes if you haven’t noticed.
Something that could be very helpful is to go into your settings, click on “timeline and tagging” and then click on “view as”. This allows you to see what the public can see when they click on your profile. You can then decide if you want to change anything.
Facebook keeps the last setting you used. Sometimes I post something as public and then I need to make sure I set it back to friends. I’m a real freak about my posts and the privacy of my kids and my information.
I know you’re excited to share about your new passport or your child’s new driving accomplishment but unless you know enough about editing to blur out the important information, NEVER post pics of documents with personal identification. Not even if your account is private. There is such a thing called a “screen shot”. Don’t be lulled into security by the social media snake charmer of a “private group”, “closed group” or a “friends only” setting.
NOTHING on the internet is EVER private.
Don’t friend anyone you don’t know. I have public pages for my blogs that anyone can follow (unless I block them – see below) but my private Facebook is just that, private.
Pay attention to the sharing setting of posts you comment on. If you comment on a public post, understand that your comment will be public as well.
Along those lines, when you share someone’s public post, you are opening up your profile and the profiles of your friends (depending on your settings) to the person who originated that post. Ask yourself if you know the originator. If not, think carefully about sharing.
CHANGE OLD PROFILE AND COVER PHOTOS to be seen by “friends’ only. The only ones that are required to stay public are the ones you currently have on your profile.
Instagram (IG) & Twitter
IG and Twitter set out to have a more public purpose. This is good in that it’s a “known” factor. It’s bad in that it takes intense diligence to monitor your accounts.
Consider creating separate accounts for personal and public use.
Check your privacy settings. We don’t have as much control over IG and Twitter privacy as we do Facebook. Control who follows you and you can control who you follow.
Block the weirdos! When a man asks to follow you and you look at his profile to find he ONLY follows women? Yeah, don’t even think twice about it. No shame. No guilt. Block him!
Let’s talk HASHTAGS. I have a love/hate relationship with these little boogers. Please be fully aware that when you use a hashtag on a public post, you are linking yourself, your pictures and information to everyone else who has used that hashtag. Go check out the hashtag you use to see what/who is “in the room” with you. There are some real creeps out there, y’all!
As I mentioned earlier, nothing online is safe. I do believe, however, the benefits of technology to be mostly good. It is true that we can’t protect ourselves from everything and everyone out there in internet land. My best tip is to stay educated and be alert. Be diligent to do all you can to protect yourself and your information.
What are your best tips for online security?
Andrea Stunz is a committed wife, an incredibly blessed mom, a grateful mother-in-law and a ridiculously proud Gimi. She is a seasoned traveler from south Texas. Having visited countries all over the globe and lived in Brazil, Singapore and the UK, she finds hope and comfort in a beautiful sunrise and a good cup of coffee. Andrea is a self-proclaimed stumbling pilgrim who is ever so grateful for grace. She longs to encourage others in their stories by sharing a part of hers because “a story worth living is a story worth sharing”. Find more of her work over at www.emptyplatefullheart.com and www.notherhood.com.
See more of her contributions for allmomdoes here.