McCoy & Hiestand Attorneys at Law
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Social media is an amazing tool for keeping in touch with people around the world but it can be dangerous if not used carefully. It’s important that anyone using social media understands how to stay safe while enjoying the benefits of this technology.

First things first, use a strong password.

  • Think of a creative phrase instead of a pets name or birthday, it’s also great to include capital letters and symbols
  • Use a different password for each site
  • If you have apps on your phone that use your personal information be sure that your device is password protected

Adjust your privacy settings.

66% of active adult Facebook users reported that they did not know privacy controls existed or they did not know how to use them.

  • There are three levels of privacy on your posts
    • open to everyone
    • open to friends of friends
    • friends only

Setting your account to “friends only” should keep strangers from seeing your content.

Be mindful of who your friends are.

Only accept friend requests from people you know and can trust. As many as 270 million of the platform’s 2.1-billion-strong user base could be fraudulent or duplicated.

Don’t click on everything you come across.

Be cautious with links and files. If you’re not sure about the source, don’t download or click on the link. Hackers will often post links in comments to try and trick you into clicking through.

Sharing your location also increases your vulnerability.

There are many ways that social sites can share your location that you may or may not be aware of. The most obvious way to share your location is to “check in” but apps can also share your location without you intentionally doing so.

In order to keep your location from being shared on apps such as Facebook and Instagram you will need to turn off the location services on your phone.

  • Leave the social app and go to your phone’s Settings.
  • Tap Privacy > Location Services.
  • Scroll down and tap Instagram.
  • Select Never or While Using the App to choose location access.

Even if your phone isn’t automatically including your location when you post it is likely still keeping track of where each photo is taken. If you want to keep your phone from recording your location when you take photos, do the following:

  • Head to the Settings app.
  • Scroll down and tap Privacy.
  • Tap Location Services.
  • Scroll down and tap Camera
  • Change ALLOW LOCATION ACCESS to Never. 

Keep personal information at a minimum.

Do not share unnecessary information, including your address and phone number. While there are a few fields that you must include in order to create an account, such as your email address, things like your phone number and address are not required. The less personal information you have on the internet, the safer you will be.

According to GuardChild.com 55% of teens have given out personal information to someone they don’t know. Along with keeping the information included on your page at a minimum, it’s important that you don’t give your information to people on social networks. While this may seem like common sense to many it is vital to have a conversation with your children who are active on social media about what they should share and who they should share it with.

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