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Social Networking and Internet Safety

Social Networking and Internet Safety

How much information is too much information in this day and age of social networking? Are you unintentionally putting yourself at risk by revealing where you are and what you are doing with your tweets and posts, or by having GPS or Geotags?

The speed and visibility of social media makes for a fun experience and great entertainment, but it also creates an opportunity to embarrass yourself or others, jeopardize your employment or, worse still, compromise your safety or your identity.

It used to be enough for us to think about our physical security, such as what type of door locks we should use, or whether or not to have an alarm system installed, but now we also need to think about our online safety and whether our online persona is equally safe. Protecting yourself means thinking about what you post and managing your profiles on all the various social networks you use.

Social Networking Safety Tips for Home Use

Use the privacy settings for each social media site and review or update them on a regular basis. Decide how visible you want your contact and profile information, photos, videos and postings to be, and then take the time to learn how to set the right level of control. Restrict delivery of information and photos to only those in your circle of friends.

  • make a conscious choice as to how searchable you want to be, and set up your profile the way you want it rather than leaving it to the default settings

  • don't share information that can help people steal your identity or locate you, such as your date of birth, address or other personal information

  • be cautious when sharing your work, school, and family connections, as these can help an identity thief steal your “profile”

  • check into your ability to opt-out with advertisers, apps, and other third parties, as each “add-on” for social networking will have access to your information

Going on vacation?

There are a few reasons why you should hold off posting your vacation details and photos until you’re home.

  • sending updates while you’re away advertises to everyone that you are not home - that means your unoccupied residence can be that much more vulnerable to people who are trolling the web for personal information

  • before you post, think hard about the content of your post and whether it can be used by someone who may be involved in criminal activity

  • ensure everyone in your house understands the rules you set about sharing information while you’re away

  • never share details about the dates you’ll be away or whether children will be left home alone

  • turn off location / GPS applications if you’re using social media while on vacation

It's up to each person using social media to protect themselves as best as they can. Take the time to understand and apply the security settings so you areless likely to be a victim of someone seeking to use your personal information for criminal purposes.

Looking for love online?

If you or someone you know is considering using dating sites, there are steps you can take to help increase your safety and reduce the chances you will meet someone very different than you were expecting.

Online Dating

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Worried about your kids online?

Learn how you can help your kids safely navigate some of the dangers found online on our Safety for Children and Teens page.