Finding People, Finding Everything: Safety in a Social Media World

As technology advances more and more social networking sites appear on the Internet. Sites such as Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin are among the most popular used by adults, parents, teens, and businesses. Although these sites can be fun, help a person reconnect with an old friend, and be profitable for a business they do have their downside. With the sharing of personal information, cyber bullying, and the increase of online sexual predators it is hard to feel safe doing anything online. Fortunately there are things everyone can do to protect themselves, their family, and their employees in order to keep social networking fun.

Social networking has become the norm in society. Almost everyone uses either one or many of these sites. They can use their cell phones to post status updates, share photos, and send messages to their friends. The self-employed and even big businesses use these sites to promote themselves and obtain more clientele. There are a lot of great uses for social networking sites, but at the same time there are many fraudulent uses in which people end up hurt, personal information is shared, and jobs have been lost due to posted photos or status updates.

Everything posted on a social networking site has the potential to be used against you. For instance, a teacher complained about certain students on a status update and lost her job because of it. A homosexual posted photos of himself in drag and also lost his job. Teenagers are posting pictures of themselves dressed provocatively as well as using vulgar language in their status updates. In one instance a teen posted pictures of him holding guns and a status update about how he had a gun and was going to go postal. These things may start off as being innocent comments but can potentially lead life altering events that will make a person live in regret.

Before posting anything on a social networking site ask yourself if this could potentially cause harm or damage to you. For example, your employer may not appreciate inappropriate photos such as lack of clothing or photos that show a person consuming a lot of alcohol. To help protect your identity be sure to change passwords often. This will help hackers from phishing your account. Parents should communicate with their children or block certain sites from them that might contain inappropriate content. Make sure children use a computer that is in viewing distance in order to keep watch on their activity. For more information on to how to protect yourself, your family, or your business, visit the following websites:

Tips for adults:

Tips for parents:

  • COPPA: Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act

Tips for teens:

Tips for businesses: