It’s no question that social networking Web sites are growing rapidly everyday. This growing trend of sharing yourself more and more online; safety is often overlooked. Setting forth some safety guidelines will benefit the users of social networks, parents and children.
Social Networking Safety Tips
- Review the Web site’s safety notifications, standards, and learn how to report violating content. Most often it will be disclosed at the registration phase. Otherwise, might be noted at the bottom of the site. This information will educate users about the function of their web site in regard to Internet safety.
- Parents: Talk to your children about social networking. Suggested topics to discuss would include not posting private information; explaining what information is private and public, pictures, and declining requests to meet people.
- Understand that people are not who they claim they are. You wouldn’t reveal your personal details to just anyone, would you? Don’t post it on your profile unless you want everyone (including bad people) to see it. Don’t agree to meet anyone online unless you specifically know that person.
- If you wish to meet someone, do it safely. This discretion can be a difficult one to judge, but if you do choose to meet someone online, make sure you’re in a safe location. I suggest meeting them in a large mall mainly because: it’s public, indoors, safe and provides either of you the option of “running errands” if you wish to not meet. Bring a friend with you just to be safe and have a good time.
- Be careful — Social Networking is a double-edged sword. It’s okay to have fun and connect with other people on social networks, but just be alert to the fact that criminals may prey on others. Take precautions to prevent possible negative outcomes.
- Setting your profile ‘Private’ to screen outsiders. Most social networks will permit you to set your profile private to prevent outside individuals from viewing your profile. This enables you to reach out to other’s who you are friends with, but exclude incoming profile requests. I suggest parents enforce that their children’s profiles remain private.
- Maintain your computer’s defenses. As a general precaution, it’s important to make sure you have an updated anti-virus, firewall, anti-spyware and operating system updates. It’s been noted previously, some MySpace advertisements contain malicious code and can infect your computer system. I’ve listed four ways to prevent spyware, check it out.
- Consider using a fake name or alias. There is no need to use your real name on social networks. Get creative and take a look into Social Security Administration’s popular names database and find one you like.
- Don’t get ‘Phished’. Phishing is a common tactic of spammers to compromise some else’s account and send messages purporting their products. Take a moment to understand how to properly login to the social network. Don’t click links you didn’t ask for or expect. If a link prompts you to log in again — it’s most likely a phishing scam.
- Research other online internet safety resources. There are plenty of other resources to help you learn more about Internet safety. CERT has a security tip all about social networking. Plenty of additional resources for parents are freely available too from the SafeKids.com Web site. Also, check into ProBlogger, blogs about his blog stalker and his tips for blogging safely.
I did my best to make this list comprehensive, but keep in mind it doesn’t cover all aspects about online safety. I wanted to convey awareness and some solutions to problems with online safety and social networks. What tips do you have about social networking safety?
[tags]Social Networking, Internet, Safety, Tips, Parents, MySpace, Blogging[/tags]