What are basic safety measures to take when using social media?
Here is a list of some things you can do to try to stay safe:
- For any account that you create, use a strong password that no one could figure out and keep it private. To read more about this, please see What safety steps should I take even if I think the abuser does NOT have access to my email account?
- Limit the amount of identifying information you use, like your birth date, address, full name, etc. (This step can also help prevent identity theft.)
- Be careful about what you post! Consider the articles you post to your profile, the pictures you put in an online album, or any status updates that indicate where you are at the moment (such as “checking in” at a restaurant) or where you are headed (such as a vacation destination). These types of posts can reveal a lot about you: your interests, your whereabouts, and your future plans, which can lead to someone finding you.
- Log out of your account by clicking “log out” after each session on your social media page. Do not simply close the browser, as it does not always log you out of your account, which would then be viewable by any other user of the computer.
What information is available about me on the Internet?
It’s good practice to assume that anything you put on the Internet can be seen. However, even information that you have not entered into a website yourself can show up on the Internet - for example, if you have a magazine subscription or if you donate to a political campaign, your personal information can be accessed on the Internet. Despite privacy settings, computer hackers and computer spyware can potentially access your information. You can read more about spyware on our Internet Security page.
A good test to find out how searchable you are on the Internet is to search your own name (using a search engine such as Google) and see what comes up. If you have a common name, try modifying your search by including some basic information like your city or high school. If you find articles or images about yourself, you may try to contact the administrator of the website and ask that s/he remove them although there is no guarantee that the website administrator will honor your request.