Social Media Safety
What you choose to share on social media is always your decision, but what others choose to do with your information is not always be in your control. Take charge of your personal safety with the following social media safety tips.
- Personalize your privacy settings. Adjust your privacy settings on the site to your comfort level, and select options that limit who can view your information. These site-specific security pages can help you get started.
- Pause before you post. Before you post, ask yourself if you are comfortable sharing this information with everyone who might see it. Once it’s posted online, it’s there forever. Even content that is deleted can sometimes be accessed by the website or through screenshots of the original post. Content that contains personal information or your whereabouts could pose a safety risk. Other posts may risk portraying you in a negative way, like pictures of partying or insults directed at a specific person or group.
- Turn off geolocation. Many social media sites or apps will request to access your location, but in most cases this isn’t necessary. You can still get the most out of your online or app experience without sharing where you are. In addition to accessing your location, some sites make this information public. When you “check in” on sites like Facebook or Foursquare, you are sharing your exact location with people you may or may not know.
- Use a private Internet connection. Avoid public Wi-Fi connections, like those offered at coffee shops or airports, when using a website that asks for a password. Limit your social media usage to personal or private Wi-Fi networks.
- Talk to your friends about public posts. Let your friends know where you stand on sharing content that may have personally identifying information, like your location or a photo of you. Respect each other’s wishes about deleting posts that may be embarrassing or uncomfortable. Before you post something about another person, whether it mentions them indirectly, by name, or in a picture, ask their permission.
- Report it. If someone is making you feel uncomfortable online you can report the interaction to the host site. You can use the “report” button near the chat window, flag a post as inappropriate, or submit a screenshot of the interaction directly to the host site.
Have you encountered sexual content or images relating to a minor? Report these encounters to the CyberTipline.
If you experience unwanted communication of a sexual nature, it can leave you with some uncomfortable or painful feelings. You are not alone. Help is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org.