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Social Media Safety Tips

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The advances in technology, such as GPS tracking, smartphone applications, and video chat, have changed our culture and made everyone feel safer. We’re never alone, and help is always a phone call or “tweet” away. But what about when what keeps us connected makes us vulnerable?

When sharing pictures of your delicious meal on Instagram, tweeting about the horrific traffic, posting your resume on LinkedIn, and sharing on Facebook that you are checking into the resort with your friends for Senior Week, remember that information is out there for everyone to see. Although privacy settings and firewalls can protect you, the best way to stay safe when using social media is to be self-monitoring.

Don’t give out your personal information.
Social media sites are a great way for you to express yourself and share the things you like with your friends. Be careful what you share. Don’t post any of your personal information, such as your phone number, email address, birthday, or home address. Make sure that you set strong privacy settings.
Think about what you post.
Don’t post inappropriate comments, use foul language, or upload a picture that could get you in trouble. Everything that you post on a social media site has the potential of being copied and stored and can come back to haunt you. Potential employers may look at your social media site and deny you a position because of offensive posts and pictures.
Send or accept friend requests only from people you know.
An easy way to stay safe when using a social media site such as Facebook is to know who can see your profile. Make sure all of your friends are people you truly know.
Be careful what you and your friends share.
Ask your friends not to post pictures or videos you may be in or share conversations that you’ve had with them unless they have your permission. Privacy setting are available that require you to approve any post or comment before it attaches to your profile. And be sure to cover or turn off your laptop camera.
Don’t share your password with your friends.
Aside from you and your parents, your password information is just that—yours. So don’t share it with your friends. Your friends may want to play a harmless joke, but if they post something inappropriate under your name, it could get you in trouble.
Control GPS-tracking settings.
If you have a smartphone and you’re using it to go on a social media site, see if you have enabled the geo-location service, and if so, turn it off. Facebook and Foursquare offer the feature to “check in” at registered locations. For example, if you’re at the movies with a friend, you can tag both of you in at the theater and post it to your timeline. Using this feature lets everyone in your networks and those of your friends’ networks know where you are, even those you may not want to know, and it also alerts wrongdoers to the fact that you are not home.
Share your vacation plans and photos after you get home.
Posting pictures and sharing your location lets everyone with access to your account know where you are. Don’t advertise that your home is going to be empty.
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