In today's digital age, social media has become an integral part of our lives. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and LinkedIn keep us connected, informed, and entertained. However, with the convenience and connectivity of social media come potential risks to your privacy, security, and personal information. In Part 2 of our online safety series, we provide you with some essential tips and best practices to enjoy the benefits of social media while staying safe online.
1. Privacy settings are your friend
The first step in securing your online presence is to review and adjust your privacy settings on your social media platforms. Typically, you can control who can see your posts, photos, and personal information. Limit your profile's visibility to friends and acquaintances rather than the general public. You should regularly review and update these settings to ensure they align with your preferences.
2. Use strong and unique passwords
It's a fundamental rule of online security to use strong, unique passwords for your social media accounts. You should avoid common words, phrases, or easily guessable information like your birthdate. A combination of upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols is ideal. Consider using a reputable password manager to generate and store complex passwords securely.
3. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your social media accounts. It typically involves receiving a one-time code on your mobile device that you must enter in addition to your password when logging in. Enabling 2FA significantly reduces the risk of unauthorised access to your accounts.
4. Regularly review app permissions
Social media apps often request access to various parts of your device, such as your camera, microphone, or location data. You should review these permissions regularly and disable any that seem unnecessary. This helps protect your privacy and prevents apps from accessing information they don't need.
5. Be wary of over-sharing
It's essential to exercise caution when sharing personal information on social media. Avoid disclosing sensitive data like your home address, phone number, financial information, or travel plans. Cybercriminals can use this information for identity theft or other malicious activities. You should also think twice before posting photos of your family (in particular children) with uniforms that can be used to identify schools, workplaces, or places you frequent for extracurricular activities.
6. Think before you post
Remember that once something is online, it can be challenging to completely remove or control who sees it. Think twice before posting potentially embarrassing, offensive, or compromising content. It's crucial to maintain a positive online reputation.
7. Report and block abusive users
If you experience harassment, hate speech, or any form of abusive behaviour on social media, you should to report it to the platform. Most platforms have mechanisms for reporting and blocking users who violate their terms of service. By doing so, you contribute to a safer online environment. You can thereafter report certain content or cyber abuse to eSafety if it meets certain criteria, depending on the form of abuse or cyberbullying.
8. Stay informed
You should stay up-to-date with the latest security threats and best practices for online safety. Following news and updates related to cybersecurity can help you recognise emerging threats and adapt your online behaviour accordingly.
9. Educate yourself and your family
You should teach your family, especially children and elderly relatives, about online safety. Share these tips and encourage open communication about online experiences and concerns. You should establish guidelines for safe social media use within your household. There are resources available at eSafety to assist you have these conversations at home with your loved ones so that everyone is well informed and protected.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.