- Keep in mind that everything, and I mean EVERYTHING that is posted online, can be accessed in some way. Even those Snapchats you think disappear after being viewed can be grabbed and used later.
- Only connect with people you know or have met personally. Anyone can disguise who they appear to be online; especially pedophiles. I’m amazed at the number of women who allow men to “friend” them on Facebook without knowing them. On occasion I will PM someone who is a mutual connection to see if they know the person and if not, I delete the request.
- Turn location settings “off” on your phone when taking pictures. It can tag the area you live in and can be especially dangerous for kids when posting online.
- Change your post settings on Facebook to only friends or friends of friends to see your posts. If it is on public anyone can comment, like, share and access your post.
- If you post pictures of your kids, never post any nude photos, not even those cute little kiddos in the bathtub. And if you do “tag” kids in photos, make sure it isn’t set on public share.
- When taking pictures of others people or their kids, ask first if it’s okay to post it on social media. Some don’t want the mug all over social media, especially their kids.
- Never use social media to bully anyone, kid or adult! Cyber-bullying is becoming much to prevalent in our society and has had some dire outcomes. If you feel that someone is bullying or targeting you in anyway, block and report them to the social media platform you are using and if needed, contact the police. There is a special team assigned for such activity.
- Never post your personal information online such as birthday, address, or phone number.
- If you go on vacation, don’t share pictures or details while you are away as that can alert people that your house may be empty and easy prey.
- Do a periodic search of your name on various social media platforms to make sure no one is using your name or photo. This happens all too often and many are completely unaware of it.
As stated earlier, while this is not a complete list of do’s and don’ts, it will at least get you started on how to protect yourself, family and personal information online. The main thing is to always be aware of what you are posting and to whom will have access to it. And never accept friend requests of people you don’t know. Be safe and have fun!
Gina Alagata is the founder of Wink, Women Inkorporated® and does training, speaking and consulting for women in business on topics related to women as well as social media marketing. She is also mother to the “Fantastic Four”, aged 14-20-years old, married to her husband Alden of 23 years and they reside in San Diego, CA.