The internet has opened up a whole new world of resources and information. It has also created an entire new social arena. While social networking sites allow us to communicate with others in a new way, there are risks. As usual social barriers are removed, it can be easy to let down your guard.
Despite what you might think, you really do not know the person on the other side of the computer. Use common sense and limit what you disclose. Never share your full name, social security number, phone number, address, or credit or bank account numbers. Also, think about the nature of the information you share. Will you be comfortable with family members, future employers, or school admissions officials seeing the info and photos you are posting?
Information posted online should be considered permanent. The following are safety precautions to follow:
- Carefully consider your screen name—don’t pick anything that could identify you.
- Do not post photos or videos of you or your friends.
- Do not accept files or downloads from people you don’t know.
- Be wary of online friends who want to meet in person.
- Limit your friend or buddy list to people you know.
- Consider password-protecting your social networking page to control access.
- Before participating in social networking, review the safety and privacy policies.
- Report any problems to the webmaster, moderator, or if needed, to the local police.