Social networking sites provide efficient ways for individuals (and individual businesses) to find and connect with friends and colleagues, to establish new relationships and deepen them, and to introduce friends and colleagues to each other. Many social networking sites also offer platforms for discussion of topics that a community or network finds mutually interesting or beneficial.
While social networking sites can increase your circle of friends, they also can increase your exposure to people with less-than-friendly intentions. Here are some things you can do to socialize safely online:
- Think about how different sites work before deciding to join a site. Some sites allow only a defined community of users to access posted content; others allow anyone and everyone to view postings.
- Keep some control over the information you post by restricting access to your page.
- Keep your full name, Social Security number, address, phone number, and bank or credit card account numbers to yourself.
- Make sure your screen name doesn't say too much about you. Even if you think it makes you anonymous, it doesn't take a genius to combine clues to figure out who you are and where you can be found.
- Post only information that you are comfortable with others seeing and knowing.
- Consider not posting your photo. It can be altered or broadcast in ways you may not be happy about.
- Flirting with strangers online could have serious consequences. Some people lie about who they really are.
- Be wary if a new friend wants to meet you in person. If you decide to meet them, meet in a public place, during the day, with friends you trust. And tell a responsible adult where you're going.
- Trust your gut if you have suspicions. If you feel threatened by someone or uncomfortable because of something online, tell an adult you trust, and then report it to the police.
Parts of content extract from: Liz Strauss, “What Is Social Networking” Successful Blog,
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