May 26, 2020
Wood Buffalo, Alta – During the pandemic many people and businesses have turned to social media outlets to reach out to their community and to connect with others in virtual relationships. From the most popular sites: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Tinder, to the ones that probably just the younger generations know about – Snapchat, Burn Book, Whisper, etc., social media is evolving and expanding every day. It’s a virtual audience on the Internet and within that, there is a voice whether it be other students or teachers or strangers.
Social media doesn’t have to be daunting or a realm of exploitation and bullying. The internet has become a valuable communication, research, and entertainment tool for many people. Knowing the right information helps you and your family know what really goes on online and how to use sites safely.
Wood Buffalo RCMP share some social media safety tips:
· Be a good digital citizen and avoid doing anything that hurts other people or is against the law. Do not post personal information about others that you are advised to not post about yourself.
· Do not give out personal information including your date of birth, home or work address, telephone number, social insurance number, and who is home or not.
· Make sure it’s okay before you post a photo of someone else. Not everyone wants their photo to be posted, so respect people and ask first.
· Business owners are advised to get written permission and share reasons with clients why it is recommended to avoid posting the name or age of any person.
· Use the privacy settings! Stay up-to-date with the medium’s privacy settings. They will change, and hopefully the site will tell you when they change them.
· Do not give out your passwords to anyone (even your best friend or soul mate). A true friend will respect that boundary and move away for any password entries.
· Everything is essentially permanent. Once you’ve sent something into the internet world, it may never leave. Even after you delete it. In a world where Print Screen is a button on your keyboard and screen shots on your phone take a mere second, when you post something online, it could be there forever.
· Everything that gets posted on social media is searchable. Employers, college admissions and public agencies will search and monitor your online presence, so be sure that every post is a positive representation of yourself and others.
· Be cautious of the information you provide in your personal profile. If you choose to share your private information, be sure to have your security settings so only the people you trust can see it. Social media profiles are a typical way for fraudsters to gain information about you and use against you for identity theft, romance scams, and more.
· Know who you’re following and who follows you. Do you trust these people? Do you even know these people? Don’t add someone you don’t know, because you don’t know what that person may do with the information you post.
· Disable any geo-locating settings. On some apps (like dating apps that let you see who is in your area) provide your location even when you aren’t active on the app. This could potentially reveal your workplace or home location.
It’s up to each person using social media to protect themselves as best as they can. Take the time to understand and apply the security settings so you are less likely to be a victim of someone seeking to use your personal information for criminal purposes.