Social Networks: Top Ten Safety Tips
Create an anonymous user Id - don’t use first and last name There are a lot of good reason not to create a Facebook profile with your name. It keeps you in control who can find your Facebook profile.
If you are being stalked or harassed it makes it more difficult for the abuser to find you on Facebook. But also now days employers, universities, new friends, insurance companies etc will do searches on you. We all put some things online that if a stranger read may get the wrong impression or simply find out information that causes a negative reaction e.g. not getting a job.
Use the privacy setting so only friends can see your profile (see FAQ on how to set Facebook privacy settings) For the reasons mentioned above keep your Facebook as a friends only forum. If you need one for business then either set-up a new account or learn how to use the "group" features that allows you to send messages to specific groups of people and not to your whole friends list. But remember you have to select the right group or you could send the wrong messages to the wrong people.
Don't let someone you barely know or random people on your friends list. If you don't know someone, then you don't know their motives for wanting access to your information. it could be innocent or not.
Not everyone is who they say they are and not everything you read is true. You've heard this before but it is true. The most serious thing we deal with is predators that go online to find victims. There are sexual predators but also financial predators trying to rip you off. They look and befriend victims, make them feel special - win their trust. If you get a great new online friend as yourself - could it be a predator?
Then there are people that just want to collect friends and see how many they can get. Do you really want to be friends with someone like that?
Think about what you post - We've all said something that was repeated and got in trouble for it. When it is on Facebook that situation is far worse. If you say something stupid then go back and delete it ASAP but know the damage will have been done.
Or you could simply post something that could be read by others years later a new boy/girlfriend, parents, university, employers. Regularly delete old post.
Don't post sexually suggestive pictures or comments. It is the number one problem/regret for young people. If you have put some up on Facebook other people can make a copy of it and send to others or post on the Internet. If you already have some go delete them now!
Check what your friends are posting/saying about you. Even if you are careful, they may not be.
Never post false information about other people. Gossiping about people is a way to make yourself a target and very unpopular. It has lead to people being fired etc. The fact that what you said is written in black and white means you can't dismiss it.
Don't post phone numbers, addresses, etc. online. Got a new phone number and you want everyone to know? Don't put it online either direct message or text people with it.
Be extremely careful before you meet someone person. It doesn't matter if you are a teen or an adult either can find themselves in a dangerous or difficult situation. Never go alone - it is simply too dangerous.
If you're not sure about something happening online, if you are uncomfortable, worried, get advice or go to the Useful Links section for support groups you can talk to.
Last updated on September 5, 2012 by Jennifer Perry