Social Networking Safety Tips



Social networking web sites such as Myspace, Facebook and many others are a popular and fun way to communicate with relatives and friends, and to renew old friendships. There’s a dark side of social networking that has been well documented by the media. Popular newsmagazine shows are full stories of young people stalked by people they met on social networking web sites.

While most of the negative attention comes from the illicit relationships that started from social networks, there are many others out there looking to take advantage of people in many other different ways. Many of the various scams that are still getting sent around by e-mail are now spreading through social networking web sites. Filtering technology has gotten so good that most of the e-mails sent to find people to suck money from gets blocked. On social networking web sites it’s easy to find people who feel lucky that a Nigerian millionaire wants to be their friend.

Most people who use social networking web sites do so without any caution at all. Most people with profile pages on Myspace or Facebook and leave them completely open to anybody to look at. Anybody with an account on Myspace can have their profile viewed by anybody who isn’t even a member of Myspace. Myspace pages can be found by doing a search on Google. Most of the Social networking web sites even some of the lesser ones like bebo, orkut, and hi5 allow restricted viewing so that only those on somebody’s friends list can see their profile.

Popularity is everything for many young users of social networking sites. Having a big number of friends is a badge of pride for most teenagers particularly those on Myspace. This ongoing quest for a larger friends list is the reason that people get into trouble using social networking sites. Anybody who wants to be your friend that you do not know face to face is likely to be a spammer or a scammer or have intentions worse than separating you from your money. To stay safe on social networking web sites only add you actual real world friends that you know face to face.

Never post contact information beyond an e-mail address on a social networking web site. Stalkers and scammers are not the kind of people who need to know the address and telephone numbers of intended victims.

Use extreme caution when posting pictures on social networking web sites. Any picture taken outside can give anybody with malicious intentions visual clues about anybody’s geographical location. Vacation photos are usually pretty safe, unless you live close to where you are vacationing.

Don’t post anything that is too sexually suggestive, it’s an invitation for trouble no matter how old you are of if you are male or female. There are stalkers of all ages and sexual persuasions.

No matter what anybody met on a social networking web site says, don’t ever give out financially sensitive information out, especially credit card and bank account numbers. Don’t ever wire money to anybody even if their story seems credible services like Western Union are the common method that online scammers use to receive money from fraud victims.

Parents need to be vigilant about what kids are posting on social networking web sites, although most parents don’t even know what social networking web sites that their kids even use. The rules of online safety for kids apply to social networking as well. Parents need to make it a condition of allowing social networking on the family computers to let the parents have the usernames and passwords used on social networking sites so that parents can remove unacceptable content from the kids profiles. Failure to do so should come with the threat of revocation of computer privileges. Communicating with friends on social networking sites is fun but it’s only fun as long as people keep themselves safe. Because getting lured in by a sexual predator or getting money sucked away by a scammer is anything but fun.

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