A typical Facebook user’s recent activity might be something like this: Turn off the light. Check. Remember passport and ticket. Check. Close the windows. Check. Ready to go to Hawaii. Oh wait, almost forgot to tell my friends! Post on Facebook and Twitter from mobile, “On my way to Hawaaaaaaaii! Check.
Another person’s activity: Check Facebook. Sneak in to unsuspecting person’s room since they are away on vacation. Check. Look for valuables. Check. Grab laptop sitting on the table...
Just one status update on social networking websites can lead to unwanted consequences. Criminals are increasingly using social networking websites for their own questionable purposes. Plus, there’s another kind of user checking you out online—potential employers. So be sure you know what you’re putting online and be a bit more careful about your public posts!
Student privacy please
If you use social networking websites in your life, update your status, post photos and videos, but don’t pay much attention to privacy issues, then your information is open for public viewing. Not only are photographs viewed, but very personal items like your address, telephone number and Skype username can be found by simply reading through your recent activities and posts.
Social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, are one of the fastest growing phenomenon on the Internet. But they certainly aren’t private forums. That’s why you have to understand your privacy settings, know the risks of using the social networking websites and learn what not to post as a student.
Who can see you?
The photographs of you and the photos you have been tagged in on Facebook are available to all friends of friends when using the recommended setting. This may sound harmless, but let’s do the math. Say you have 130 friends, and each of those friends has another 130 friends, half of whom are mutual. That means more than 8,000 people can view your photos. This conservative estimate is a surprisingly large number. So if you are even more social, the number of friends and friends of friends increases exponentially.
You have to check the privacy-setting page yourself, gather information about each section on it and choose the correct setting for your life. By understanding how to set a strong privacy setting, you can protect your posts and information on social networking websites and the Internet.
Do you know who your friends are?
Even if you have a strong privacy setting, your private posts or personal information on social media sites can still be leaked out—thanks to your friends. Before you continue reading, check your friend list and think about these two questions: How many friends do you have on your social networking website? How many of them have you actually met or know well?
You should not accept requests from unknown friends. However, most people do accept a friend request from strangers. Even though accepting a friend request from “a friend of a friend” might seem harmless, be careful. These so called “friends” on social networking websites can gain access to items such as status updates, posted photos and personal details.
You should also “clean up” your friend list by deleting friends you haven’t talked to recently or do not know in order to reduce the risk of your personal items being leaked.
Before you post anything on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or any other social networking website, ask yourself whether it’s worth telling your friends, and if so, consider how many people are able to see the post.
Remember to keep private, personal details out of your posts. Somebody you don’t know is watching you on the Internet for many possible reasons. Be aware of your privacy settings on social networking websites and protect yourself from unwanted consequences in your life.
Hideaki Furukawa was born in Japan in 1996 and moved to Switzerland when he was a 5th grade student. He has been helping others better understand social media ever since.