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Safer Internet Day and Social Media Best Practices

Safer Internet Day aims to create a platform for responsible Internet use.  Here’s how you can help you and your family stay safe on social media.

This year’s Safer Internet Day is recognized on Tuesday, February 6 and calls upon everyone to create a safer, better Internet for everyone who uses it, especially younger children.  This year’s slogan is to “create, connect and share respect: A better internet starts with you.”  The organization empowers people to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively.  Because social media is so widely used not only amongst adults, but kids and teens in particular, keeping tabs on social media use for safety and identity protection is part and parcel to creating a safer Internet for all.

The increased use of social media means more opportunities to steal identities or perpetrate fraud online, and there are a number of ways criminals can use this platform to wreak havoc on users: phishing attempts can be used to gain trust in order to obtain non-public information through online conversations, GPS-enabled phones sharing your location can reveal sensitive information like your home address, work address and the places you visit.  This is especially easy for the novice user who may or may not recognize phishing attempts when prompted.

Any information you provide, such as your name, date of birth, hometown, pet names, interests and hobbies, nature of work, and home or office address are just some of the personal details that criminals can easily manipulate to commit fraud.  It is important to talk to your kids about what information they share and let them know how to identify a scam versus a real means of contact.

When posting information to a social network, a user probably expects authorized contacts to be able to view it. But who else can see it, and what exactly is visible?

Entities that collect personal information for legal purposes include:

  • Advertisers interested in personal information so they can better target their ads to those most likely to be interested in the product
  • Third-party software developers who incorporate information to personalize applications, such as an online games that interact with the social network
  • Engaging on social channels doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. You can still teach your kids to share aspects of their life if you teach them the proper precautions and use security tools and features.

Best Practices for Social Media Use

Perhaps this seems like common sense, but it’s a good idea to remember the following:

  • Never share social security numbers
  • Change passwords frequently
  • Don’t publicly share your birthdate, hometown, or place of business
  • Don’t store credit card information for third-party app purchases
  • Only accept invitations from people you actually know and trust
  • Check your child’s privacy settings often.  Privacy policies and default settings may change, particularly on Facebook

As the identity protection company, Legal Shred is committed to helping our customers safeguard their information and helping to create a safer experience on the Internet.

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Safer Internet Day

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