Staying Safe on Social Media
These days, we are constantly communicating and making others aware of where we are and what we are doing. From Facebook to Twitter to Foursquare, we are tracking ourselves worse than Big Brother and our lives have become an open book! There are many advantages to our social media age. Friends and relatives can stay in touch with each other on deeper levels and more frequently than ever before. Businesses can reach a much greater market, and movements for good can be easily begun and spread. There are many benefits, but it must be used with caution.
You wouldn’t go home with them, so don’t meet up with them!
A huge safety concern that social media and the Internet elicit is online dating. Teenagers may be particularly drawn to chatting online and may be flattered when someone begins showing them attention. This is extremely dangerous as they are easily lured into meeting these strangers. Unfortunately, this far too often turns into a gruesome or deadly situation. Don’t think this is just the case for teenagers, though. Adults are just as at risk for these types of attacks, so always use extreme caution when talking with or meeting someone you met online.
No deal is that good!
There is a large movement now of buying and selling online. Craigslist is a huge facilitator for such exchanges, but there are numerous groups on other social media sites that provide the same avenue. These can be a quick and easy way to downsize your home or to find great deals. In some cases, though, people use these outlets as a way to harm potential buyers/sellers once they arrange a meeting. If you choose to engage in this, always meet at a public place and never give out any personal information. A sale or a good deal is not worth jeopardizing your safety!
It’s none of their business!
Another threat to our safety is the tracking aspect of social media. When we check-in to places, post photos and tag others, and announce our plans for the night, we are opening the door for a home break-in. You might as well put a sign outside your door saying, “We’re not home. Come on in!” If someone has intentions of doing you personal harm, they may see your post about meeting your girlfriends for Ladies Night and know that you’ll be going to your car alone. Make it a general rule to post pictures once you return home and make any check-ins private for only those you trust to see. Just remember that anything you post online has the potential to be viewed by people with ill intentions, so don’t make it easy for them.
Don’t let all these concerns scare you away from using social media and the Internet for your benefit, though! We live in an amazing time of technology and communication, so be encouraged to take full advantage of that. However, the same basic rules of personal safety apply online just as much as they do out in the “real world.” So be smart, and remember that less is more when it comes to revealing your location and what you’re up to today.