If we consider all the ways in which we communicate today, on average, social networking sites rank among one of the most popular mediums for young people and also many adults. It certainly is incredibly convenient and versatile. Through social media websites, we not only talk to others, but we can also share multimedia, make new friends, and participate in open conversations. It is a fantastic solution for keeping in touch with people who we may not see everyday. Just like all good things, social networking comes with a fair amount of risks and vulnerabilities too. Ignoring these risks can sometimes result in harm to our computers or even ourselves.
Adults as well as children can be affected by social media risks. One of the most common is privacy invasion. Social networking companies recognize the need for online privacy, which is exactly why they incorporate a host of privacy settings in their websites. After that, it is up to individual users to educate themselves about this issue and learn how to configure those settings. As a general rule, any information that you would not normally give to a stranger on the street should be kept private on your user account profile. Apart from this, take care in what information you reveal when posting messages on other people’s accounts. While you might practice good privacy habits, it is not necessarily so with other people. If their profiles are fully public, then your posts would also be visible to just about anyone online. Taking care in protecting your personal information online can help to avoid identity theft or identity fraud.
Cyberbullying and cyberharassment are examples of other serious issues that can come with social networking. Don’t be fooled into thinking that only children are the targets of such predators. Naive adults can also be preyed on or stalked virtually. Always take these matters seriously. If they come up, report it to the appropriate authorities and avoid any contact with the bully or stalker.
Social media websites are infamous for revealing the true face of a person. Consider how you behave among friends. Most people are quite laid back with their friends; they might go to parties together, get drunk, pull pranks, or engage in other similar behavior. Now consider how you might act at work. Undoubtedly, most people show a very different side of themselves in professional environments. By leaving a social networking profile page publicly visible, or by not taking care in what you post, you might inadvertently display a very unprofessional image to bosses or potential employers. Several people have even lost their jobs over this point. Apart from simply displaying an unprofessional image, there are cases where people have posted comments disparaging their supervisors or the companies they work for. A helpful trick is to log out of your social media accounts, then run a search for your name. Look at the pages that come up. If you see anything that is questionable, log back into your accounts and either delete those items or make them private.
Find out more on how to protect yourself and your children on social networking platforms with the following resources.