Amy's request to guest post here on Amber's Mouthwash came at a very timely moment for me: I had literally just reported my "Sea Stalker" to Facebook. Her e-mail came within the hour. Apparently fate works wonders online too. Readers, I truly do value you; I cannot stress how important it is to remain safe and protected online (day to day life as well, of course). In her guest post, Amy of Adult Dating Sites gives some very helpful pointers of remaining safe online.
How to Play it Safe on Facebook
In today’s 2011, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard of a little thing called Facebook. With access from home, work, and even on the go you have the ability to see what your best friend is having for lunch, find out what your long lost 6th grade boyfriend is up to, share pictures from your fabulous weekend in New York and even check-in at your favorite wine bar.
So we all know that Facebook offers a plethora of fun tools that enable you to chronicle your life, share with friends, expose your opinions and connect with new people…but with over 800 million users world-wide and more than 50% of those users logging on several times a day, it comes as zero surprise that you have the possibility of encountering someone through the most visited website on the internet (after Google) who doesn’t have the best of intentions.
To maintain your status as the most Facebook-savvy social networking butterfly in your group of friends, follow these few tips that will ensure a fun sharing experience while at the same time protecting yourself from the dangers lurking behind every friend request or poke:
Restrict access to your profile. Facebook offers privacy settings and security features that are in place to protect you. It is a good idea to take the time to learn how to use these settings to control what information of yours is shared with people, applications and other websites. Although it is suggested to use the highest level of security by setting the controls so that only your friends can view your info, review these settings and choose the ones right for you.
Keep your password safe. There are cases of Facebook accounts being hacked into and used to gain personal information of yours or to send hurtful information to others. To avoid situations like these, it is important to guard the password to your account. Use a password that can’t be easily guessed, don’t share it with anyone and make sure that it is different from your other online logins.
Who are your friends? With the obscene number of people signed up to Facebook, it is likely that you have received friend requests from randoms you don’t know. It may be tempting to accept for the thrill of connecting with someone new, but if you don’t know this person, it’s in your best interest to just ignore the request and stick to interacting only with people you know.
Be careful of what you post. It can be a lot of fun to share your adventures with friends by posting what’s been going on in your life—but think before you post. If you check-in somewhere, create a status stating where you plan to meet your friends, or post a mobile upload to your Facebook profile of you out on the town, this will alert predators of your whereabouts which can make you vulnerable to physical attacks or burglary.
Also, it is important to note that you should avoid posting any pics of yourself that could put your morals or values in question. Many Facebook users have had their jobs or academic careers compromised because of pictures showing them partying or engaging in behavior that doesn’t reflect a positive light upon an organization to which they belong.
Use your common sense. Carefully review your Facebook page and try to see it through the eyes of someone with malicious intentions. If there is anything you have posted on your profile that could pose risks if the wrong person were to get their hands on it, remove the content immediately.
Remember to listen to your instincts and if your gut is telling you there is something wrong, it’s likely that there is—trust that feeling and get out of a potentially dangerous situation. If anyone is violating the terms of Facebook or making you uncomfortable, the site makes it easy to un-friend, block, and report any online abuse so that the site can take appropriate action against the problem-causing user.
Thank you Amy!