The digital world mirrors the real world in some aspects, in particular for women. Just like the real world, the rate of crime against women is increasing on the internet.
Moreover, the situation seems to be getting worse with every passing day. This is why staying safe online, especially on social media, is paramount for the well-being of your digital presence.
A disturbing trend becomes clearly visible when we glance at the recent past. Passwords getting hacked, private images being leaked online, sensitive data compromised, data being held captive for ransom, etc.
All these incidents made headlines worldwide. But this shouldn’t deter women from updating their status on Facebook, shopping online for a new dress, or sharing/capturing private moments. Therefore, on this Women’s Day, I have put together a list of some surefire online safety tips for women that can help them stay safe and maintain control over their information.
Although cyberstalking preceded the advent of social networking, social media has made it that much easier. A stalker can easily locate and track their target’s every move. Personal tidbits collected over time can give them a whole picture of who you are, where you work, live and socialize.
The following online safety tips can help you manage your information floating on social networking:
1. Check the privacy settings of your profile and make sure it’s set to the right level. Even if your social network is set to private, it doesn’t guarantee that your information is completely private.
2. Remember that the friends of your friends might be able to see your posts and updates even if you are not friends with them.
3. Pay attention to your friend list when you post or link yourself to certain things. There might be people there who don’t have your best interests at heart.
5. Always remember that once the internet gets hold of your information, you have no control over it. Anything you put up can be grabbed, copied and saved on someone else’s computer and mirrored on other sites – not to mention hacked by thieves or subpoenaed by law enforcement agencies.
6. Be cautious about using geo-location services, location-centric apps, Foursquare, etc. Stalkers can easily access your location.
7. Always review before posting and make sure your privacy settings enable you to review content where you’ve been tagged by friends before they appear publicly on your profile.
8. Online games, quizzes, and other entertainment apps are fun, but they often pull information from your page and post it without your knowledge. Make sure that you know the guidelines of any app, game or service and not allow it unrestricted access to your information.
9. Never accept friend requests from people you don’t know, even if you have mutual friends.
10. Talk to your buddies, family, and colleagues about what they can post online about you.
2. Pay attention when creating an account. Often, there is an option to opt out of sharing personal information beyond what’s necessary.
3. Don’t use the same password for different accounts. If one fails, the rest will follow.
4. Click “no” when a website offers to check your email address book to find your “friends.” Some sites use this feature to send spam and viruses to everyone in your address book.
5. Avoid using your name or a combination of your name as your username.
6. When filling out online account profiles give minimal information and opt out of joining the site’s directory.
7. Log off when you’re not using an account and do not allow search engines or your computer to remember your passwords.
There are many ways for women to protect themselves while surfing the web and most of them are pretty easy. I request you to practice one or more of these tips in the next week and tell me about your experience in the comments below.
Want more online safety tips for women? Check out these other useful resources on our blog: