Social media is a phenomenon that stretches across the globe. Millions of social media users post pictures, updates and articles daily. We are sharing more of ourselves than we ever did before. We are placing personal pictures, writing our personal e-mails, and potentially giving out vital personal information such as dates of birth, addresses and cell phone numbers. How do we protect ourselves from our personal information falling into the wrong hands? Here are a few tips:
Avoid posting your address
It is very simple for someone to find out where you live if you use Facebook. Some users post pictures outside their home or at the corner of their street. Others may post their address directly on their profile. Be careful whom you allow to see your information. Do not give out information which can be used to verify your identity, like date of birth, mother’s maiden name, or social insurance number.
Use GPS tracking options at your own risk
Facebook will soon allow the GPS tracking features in mobile phones to display your current location on Facebook. If you are away for an extended period of time, turn off the GPS tracking feature if nobody is home during your extended stay. If a thief happens to come across your profile and your GPS tracking is public, they may be able to see you are sitting on a beach, and realize nobody is at your house.
Be mindful of your status updates
You never know who will see your Facebook status updates. Even if you set it up only for your friends, someone else may see a friend’s profile. With Twitter, all your tweets are public. If you tweet that you will be away from home for one week, anybody will be able to see it. Be careful what you allow the public to see. While you cannot hide tweets from thieves, you can definitely protect your Facebook profile from unwanted eyes.
Facebook Privacy Settings
You can change the privacy settings of your Facebook by clicking the Account button in the top right hand corner under Privacy settings. There are several options when it comes to sharing information. You can share with everyone, just Friends and Networks, Friends and Friends of Friends, or just your Friends. You can modify these privacy settings for every little bit of information. You can keep date of birth limited to only your friends, but allow the general public to see your favorite movie, or your blogposts. You can get more Facebook privacy tips, including how to use Facebook lists, by clicking here.
Choosing what privacy settings are best for you is a personal decision. However, keep in mind that everything you put out there will be seen.
We are all responsible for the content we place on social media, because it allows the public to peer a little bit into our lives. How much they can see through the keyhole, is up to you!