With many teenagers highly active on several social platforms, parents might justifiably be concerned about the people with whom they’re interacting and whether they are naïvely sharing sensitive information on social media. Indeed, a lot of adults fail to properly safeguard personal information online, so it seems most likely that teenagers may also leave themselves exposed to cyber crime.
While the details of social platforms differ (e.g. Twitter is very open, where Snapchat tends to have a less public audience), there are a few basic ground rules which apply across the board. Chief among these is ensuring that you never display contact information on social media. Even giving permission to social sites to get access to your phone number is risky, so putting it in a profile bio is an open invitation to malicious strangers to take full advantage.
Be conscious of geo-tagging, namely including your location in posts. We’ve all heard the stories of people leaving for vacation and posting a check-in from the airport, only to come home to a ransacked house because criminals knew that the property was vacant.
Keep your contact lists trim and private. Where possible, do not allow other users to see who you have in your contacts, as some people try to use contact lists as a bridge to access someone else’s profile. Also, only add a person to your contacts if you know them in real life and if you’d say hello to them upon passing them on the street. Remind teens that a friend of a friend of a friend may not actually be someone you want to “friend” on social media.
This infographic from Irish Telecom talks you through six of the main social platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn and Pinterest – with advice on each one so that you don’t leave yourself wide open to illicit activity. Check your own privacy settings regularly and share this post with your teens as well.
What are your favorite tips for social media privacy?