Nowadays, social media is prevalent in our lives on a day to day basis. There’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and thousands more websites where anyone in the world with access to a computer can see everything you post. With so many people on the internet every day, how can we be safe from potential threats?
For starters, every website has privacy settings. For example, you can turn on the setting so that only your Facebook friends can see what you post, and on Instagram you can make your account private so that only the people you allow to follow you can browse through your pictures. The people you allow to follow you and ‘friend you’ on social media also plays a huge role in keeping you safe. For instance, if a nice looking woman from Brazil sends you a friend request on Facebook, chances are it’s not a good idea to accept. You have no idea who she (or he) is or what they plan on doing with your information that they’re now able to see. If you have never met the person who sent you a friend request, or you hardly know them, it’s definitely not a good idea to allow them access to your personal information.
For those of you who work, you might be wondering who you should friend or follow from your workplace. It’s rarely a good idea to connect with clients or students over social media because it makes the relationship you have with them less professional. As an assistant martial arts instructor, I never send friend requests to my students, and I deny ones I get from them. It isn’t because I don’t like them, but if students or clients were to see you as more of a friend than a figure of authority, it could make it more difficult to teach them or to give them professional help. The only people from work that I have friended on Facebook are the other assistant instructors, and I’d only contact them if I needed someone to fill in for me.
Another thing to be careful of on social media is what you are posting. If you wouldn’t say it to your parents, siblings, bosses, teachers, etc., you shouldn’t plaster it all over the internet. This means that using profanity, racial slurs, and other offensive language is out of the question. It’s also a bad idea to make negative comments about other people or places. Once it’s on the internet, there’s no taking it back. In short, just keep your posts and comments positive. If you adjust your privacy settings, follow and friend the right people, and avoid typing offensive comments online, you can feel safe when using social media.