Social Networking Safety Tips
In the last 15 years, the amazing viral craze of social
networking sites has blossomed from zero to over a hundred
different sites on the Internet. People have taken up the
craze in order to find new friends from all over the world.
However, people using a social networking service need to
remember that there are safety issues to consider.
The first thing you need to do is to check out how each social
networking site works, before you sign up with one. Because
your personal information can be used by criminals, you need
to know if the site you're considering joining allows non-members
to view profiles. If so, you probably need to look elsewhere.
You also need to find out if the site allows you to restrict
access to your personal information. You should restrict such
access to friends, family and trusted acquaintances. Again, by
putting information out in the open for people to see, you
allow unscrupulous to perhaps commit identity theft, or harm
you in a number of other ways.
That being said, it's obvious that important information should
never be posted. Things like your social security
number, your address, your phone number, or any banking or
financial information. Don't make things easy for criminals to
cause you harm and grief.
The information that you can post would general things -- things
that can change and things that can't necessarily identify
you. Things like your future plans, or dreams and aspirations.
This will help know more about you and who you are as a person
without letting them know who you are in terms of identity.
Many social networking sites allow you to post photographs. While
this might be something you want to do, nasty people might be
able to take that image and make "creative changes" to it and
posting it elsewhere. Software like Photoshop can enable people
to take an innocent photograph and turn it into something
embarrassing or humiliating. Or incriminating.
Once you start making friends on a social networking site, you
need to take precautions as well. Ask mutual friends questions
about this person. You could also do a Google search of the person's
name to find out more about them. While most would-be friends are
on the up-and-up, there just might be a weirdo or two looking to
find someone gullible. If after checking them out everything seems
okay, you can consider meeting in person.
Even after clearing the person, make sure you meet them in a public
place where there are a lot of people. Make sure you let several
people know where you're going, whom you'll be meeting and when you
expect to be back. This may sound unnecessary or excessive, but when
your personal safety is involved, you need to take all the precautions
that you can.
If a problem should arise -- leave. If the person follows you and
persists, get help. Report the incident both to the police and to
the social networking site. They can cancel that person's membership
making it impossible for him or her to get in touch with you. You
can also get your friends to let people on other social networking
sites know about the individual, so that their accounts on these
other sites might be cancelled as well.
Social networking can be a lot of fun, but you need to take steps
to protect your personal safety and your identity.
Copyright 2008 Mirroreyes Internet Services Corporation.