Social media has become an integral part of many people’s lives. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tik Tok are all household names.
Despite their popularity, however, it’s important to remember that they are public platforms. Staying safe on social media means being careful how much personal information you post, and being aware of your social media’s privacy settings. Today we’ll go over the main ways you can keep yourself safe on social media.
The first thing to remember is to choose a strong password. A strong password is one that’s hard for other people to guess. The best passwords are several characters long and will incorporate capital letters as well as numbers and special characters.
It’s best practice to use a different password for every one of your social media accounts, too. This way, if someone guesses the password to one of your accounts, at least they won’t be able to access your others.
Also, remember never to share your password with anyone. Passwords should always be private and known only to you.
Most social media will have security and privacy settings that you can personalize. When you sign up for social media, make sure to check out and familiarize yourself with the site’s security settings. You can use them as a way to control who can see what.
For example, Instagram has a privacy setting that stops anyone you don’t know from seeing your posts unless you allow them to follow you. Likewise, Facebook has security settings that keep people who aren’t your “friends” from seeing your posts and personal information.
Be Careful What You Post
While it’s important to set your security settings so that people you don’t know can’t see your posts, it’s also important to monitor the posts you do allow people you know to see. Be mindful of posts, comments, and photos you share. Never send compromising or explicit photos.
Something to consider is that yes, while it is possible to delete posts you’ve made, it’s impossible to delete what other people have saved. Once a post is on the internet, it might be impossible to take it back.
Before you post anything, a good rule of thumb is to pause and consider whether you’d want family members or potential employers to see what you’re about to share. If the answer is yes, it’s safe to post. If not, perhaps reconsider sharing it.
Double Check Links Before You Click
Cybercriminals frequently use social media to steal personal information from other users. They do this by sharing links that might contain malware that will infect your computer.
Before clicking any link, double-check that it’s from someone you trust. Also keep in mind that cybercriminals can hack and take over accounts you trust, so always inspect the post itself for any signs that it might not be safe to click.
Keep an eye out for anything advertising things like free vacations or products. And if you’re ever in doubt, trust your gut. It’s probably best not to click the link.
Install and Update Antivirus Software
Antivirus software monitors viruses and worms that might infect your computer, and work to disable this malware. Even though we might consider social media to be safe, it’s still possible for cybercriminals to use it as a way to distribute these viruses.
Installing antivirus software is the first step to preventing malware from infecting your computer. The second step is to make sure you keep your antivirus software updated. The creators of malware are constantly finding new ways to work around the antivirus software you have installed.
Likewise, the experts behind the antivirus software are keeping track of these new methods, and updating their software appropriately. So always make sure you keep your software updated to the newest version. Most antivirus software has the option to update automatically, which makes that one less thing you’ll have to worry about.
Log Off Your Social Media Accounts When You’re Not Using Them
Whether you’re accessing your social media from a public or private terminal, always remember to log off when you’re done. Making sure that you’re signed off means you won’t be providing opportunities for people to easily steal your personal information, or steal your identity.
Social media is a great way to stay connected with friends and family. Establishing a positive social media presence can also be a good way to attract potential employers.
It’s also important to remember, however, that not everyone is using social media solely to grow their connections with friends. Social media can be a tool to spread malware, scam money, and steal personal information and even steal identities.
Luckily, there are ways to keep yourself safe on social media. By following the tips above, you’ll keep yourself safe online.