Social media is a great tool to communicate with friends, grow your professional circle or generally express your views to the world. However, social media can also be a tool that could ruin your life in many circumstances. What dangers could those who use social media face?
Child Predators Can Find Victims Online
The Internet allows people to be whoever or whatever they want to be. That person who says that she is a 15-year-old student in Michigan may be a 45-year-old man with a criminal record. As children tend to be more trusting of those who they talk to online, they may be more willing to meet their online friends in the real world. If a criminal can lure their victim to a secluded area, they could become a victim of a sexual crime or even die at the hands of their supposed friend.
It’s important for parents to monitor their child’s online activity and if they’re under a certain age not to let them join specific social networks. If they are online parents should find ways to check their activity, either be online friends with them or use an alias to casually check in and make sure nothing is strange or out of the ordinary.
Employers Can Find Out More Than You Think
That embarrassing picture that you put on Facebook or that racist tweet that you posted because you thought it was funny could cause you to lose your job or a job offer. If an employer or a potential employer does an online check and finds anything that could put the company in a bad light, there is a good chance that the company is going to end its relationship with you. Remember, photos or text that you took down or untagged could still be found through a simple Google search.
Facebook, Google+ and other social networks have advanced their privacy settings and configurations. If you do not want certain aspects of your life viewable by the public, be sure to navigate to the privacy settings and set it up to hide your information, pictures and more from the public.
Others Can Track Your Movements
If you post a status on Facebook that says you are at the movies or going on vacation, a criminal could see that and find opportunities to break into your home while you are out. Posting a picture on Facebook from a party or from a baseball game could get you in trouble with your employer if you called in sick that day just to go to a party or the game.
Its a good idea to keep your check-ins to a minimum. Giving the public a clear view of where you are at all times can lead to dangerous things. If you plan to go to sports games, or parties, post your photos and statuses the following day or even when you get back home. Keep your phone’s GPS off while you’re not using it. Also be sure to turn off location settings on some apps that track and share your location.
It is important that you use social media responsibly. Failure to protect yourself or your identity could cause you to lose your job, cause harm to yourself or expose your belongings to theft or damage that could cost a lot of money to repair. Only friend people you know personally, and be sure to have your privacy settings turned on. Following safe social networking habits will keep you protected.