A Beginners Guide to Internet Safety

As human beings, we are constantly flooded with lectures on how to be physically safe. Walking at night, what part of town you should go to, what kind of pepper spray to buy. These things are forced upon us at a young age, but these are not the only ways to stay safe. Many of us grew up alongside the rise of social media and with technology so new, it is hard to determine the correct ways to navigate it. Below are three steps that you should take to start being more cautious on the internet. Nobody is ever completely safe, but simply being aware makes all of the difference when it comes to your socials. 

  1. 1. Go Private

    This is simple, putting your accounts on private eliminates the possibility of a threat accessing a majority of your personal information. Social media is a business model that solely depends on the content you post. This content is unique to you, and when different posts are put together, it is easy for anyone to determine where you go to school, work, or even live. If you have ever posted a story or picture at a college football game, work party, or even of you in your bedroom, I am talking to you. It is so easy to piece together someone’s life at one swipe. Going private lets you determine who sees your personal information, which is just as important as being aware of your surroundings in real life. Private mode can be accessed within the settings of most of your social medias. 

  2. 2. Take inventory

    By inventory I mean who is following your accounts. Once you are private, be aware of who is following you. If you wouldn’t want them to take you to lunch, they probably shouldn’t be following your socials. It is hard to remove followers off of your accounts, but being aware of who is following you makes you more aware of what you should and shouldn’t post. While most socials don’t allow you to actually remove followers from your account, Instagram does. Just simply click on the three dots next to the user you want to remove and click “remove follower” and they will no longer have access to your content. 

     

  3. 3. Be aware of what you are posting

    This is somewhat obvious, but make sure to be super aware of what you are posting. As mentioned in the going private step, it is so easy to figure out details of someone’s life through what they post. Whether it is a tweet, status update, or a picture of what you and your friends did last night, it is important to think about what personal information it gives away. Even if you are in private mode, it is still important to be aware of the consequences of a telling post. As a general tip: avoid posting any content regarding your neighborhood, workplace, or other frequented locations. This is a good starting point for being more cautious when it comes to your content.  

     

These steps are just to get you aquainted with the idea of being digitally safe. There are so many other steps you could take to protect your information outside of your social medias as well. However, there is no need to stop using social media or other platforms all together in order to protect yourself. Doing research, taking action, and being cautious as you continue to interact with the internet is a great way to protect yourself on the daily.