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Tips on staying safe when using an online social network

Social media and social networking have now become a part of our lives. However, what is social media and what is networking? Social media is a category of websites where people can communicate with each other and social networking is the grouping of individuals into specific online communities. However, these communities may also attract predators, so keep reading to discover how to stay safe.

Overview

Social network sites allow you to connect with new people, usually through the people whom you already know. The purpose of these online websites is to allow their users to establish friendship, business connections or even romantic relationships. However, there may be hidden dangers with social sites. You should always keep in mind that online users can pretend to be anyone whom they want. A user can pretend to be a woman when he’s actually a man or lie about his interests, his profession, his marital status or his age. For this reason, it’s very important to exercise some amount of caution, every time you use a social networking website. Here are some tips on how to stay safe on social networks:

Don’t give too much information

Avoid revealing any personal information that makes you vulnerable (such as your address, or your place of work). Moreover, you should only reveal things about yourself that you are comfortable with anyone seeing. The problem is that once you post data online, you can't take it back. Even if you decide to delete your post, the data may still exist as saved or cached versions on other people's computers.

Check the privacy policy of the website

Some websites may sell personal information like an e-mail address or the user’s preferences for business sites and marketing companies. These companies may start spamming you with advertisements. For this reason, you should always check the privacy policy of the social media site, before signing up. You can also set up a separate email account that doesn’t include your real name and use only that email to register on these websites. In this way, if something goes wrong, you can just stop using that particular e-mail account.

Use a strong password

A strong password that cannot be easily guessed can protect your account from being compromised by hackers and prevent someone else from taking over your account and pretend to be you. Choose a long password that is not similar to your user name or real name.

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