Years and years ago, summer plans were talked about. Times sure have changed. Now you can Tweet about your trips, Facebook your photos, blog at the barbecue, and Skype from the surf and sand. With all the new ways to share your summer days with others, maintaining privacy can be a real challenge.
These four simple summer social media privacy tips can give you more control over your private life and more importantly, give other people less control:
1. Why did I post that? A great rule to follow when posting a message, video, or photo on a social media site is to ask yourself, “Is this something I want my boss to see?” This will keep you from showing the world too much. Remember, just because you delete a message, photo, or video doesn’t mean it’s gone forever. It could live forever, and another person, sometimes someone you don’t even know, who is ready to share it with the rest of the world, also could have easily downloaded it.
2. Here’s my schedule. Most social networks have privacy settings to prevent unwanted people from viewing your information, but many people don’t pay attention to their settings. When posting information, remember that it may go far beyond your circle of friends. A recent story with a bad ending involved a family that posted their summer vacation plans online including where they were going and how long they’d be away. They returned home to discover that their house had been broken into and many of their possessions had been stolen. The family couldn’t prove that the Internet posting prompted the break in, but they vowed never to post their schedules again.
3. It’s easy to access my account. It may seem to be a hassle signing in and out of your social media accounts, but logging off of these sites and then locking your device makes it nearly impossible for strangers to access your information.
4. This is my password. Most people want to be able to remember their password without writing it down, and some therefore choose a password that’s obvious and easy to remember, such as birthdays, anniversaries, kids’ names and Social Security numbers. Unfortunately, “easy” passwords make it easier for hackers to access your account. The best advice for passwords is to choose a combination of letters, numbers and symbols, preferably in both lower- and upper-case form. Do not use the same password for all of your accounts. That way, if someone does gain access to one of your accounts, they won’t be able to access the others.
Another thought to make sure that your personal information stays personal: Spend more time outside and less online – it’s summer!