How to Protect Yourself on Social Media

WITI News Staff

October 02, 2021

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Technology fuels our world. With social media, streaming services, bluetooth applications and smart houses, technology seems to weave itself within almost every facet of our life. (Even to the point where we can now use our smartphone to flush the toilet).

Social media seems to especially dominate our planet. In fact, as of 2021, there are nearly four billion active social media users around the globe. And it is expected that the number of social media users will continue to rapidly increase each year.

Social media presents us with several benefits; it allows us to connect with our loved ones, meet new friends, engage with celebrities and follow politics. But social media is far from perfect. With online predators, bullies and thieves, social media also produces toxic and dangerous environments for users.

However, there are many ways to remain safe online and to protect ourselves from becoming victims of harassment, schemes and other harmful situations. Here are three ways to protect yourself online:

1. Private your Account:

The default setting of most social media platforms is public profiles. If your account is public, you enable strangers to all open profiles. On the other hand, if you private your account, you gain additional security since you determine who can and who cannot view your posts.

If your account is currently public, do not panic! Simply access your account’s settings and select the “private account” option. This option is usually found under a “security” or “privacy” tab. If you are unable to find an option for making your account private, locate the social media platform’s help center; it should provide instructions for privacy and security.

2. Consider your Followers:

It may seem like a silly task to review your followers, but it is just as important as making your account private. It is beneficial for you to regularly review your followers and ensure that no strangers or bots (fake accounts) are following you. You should especially analyze your followers’ list if your account was once public, and you previously allowed anyone to follow you. Removing followers you do not personally know is an excellent step in keeping you safe since it prevents predatory or negative accounts from messaging you, commenting on your posts or saving your pictures. And as you consider your current followers, be mindful as you receive new follow requests. For example, if you get a follow request from someone you do not know but does have mutual followers, strongly consider rejecting the request. It is best for you to only allow people you know to follow your profile.

3.Review your Posts

In 2021, people are pretty comfortable with sharing various aspects of their lives, including where they live, work, and travel and what they eat, watch, and read. While it may seem like it is perfectly safe to share personal information about yourself with your followers, it is imperative that you think twice before sharing a post. This is especially important when you reveal your location on a post. You live in a world in which everything is saved, recorded and screenshotted. The posts you share with others can easily be shared with people you have never met before. For example, if some of your followers screenshot one of your posts, they could forward it along to their followers. And then those followers can share it with their followers and so on. As a result, strangers could gain access to your posts without you even knowing it. Therefore, before you make a post, consider whether you would feel comfortable with a stranger accessing that post.

Social media can certainly be risky and unsafe at times. However, if you take extra precautions, like privating your account, considering your followers and reviewing your posts, social media can be a safe and serene space for you to share your thoughts and connect with others.

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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