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Staying Safe on Social Network Sites

When I grew up, there was a simple rule “Don’t talk to strangers”. Who was a stranger? Well it was someone you and your family did not know. If someone stopped you in the street and asked what your name was, you most certainly did not give it, unless they were a Garda, but that’s a different story!!

Today, through the advent of social media, we have friends from all around the world. Some of these we have physically met, others we will probably never meet, but we treat them the same in many respects. We give them all access to our daily lives through Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and so on. We tell these people things that sometimes we don’t even tell our own families.

Is that right? Well, it’s not for me to judge, but perhaps it might be time to take a look at your online activities, work out exactly what information you are sharing and just who has access to it. Why? Well who knows what some of these people will do with the information.

You would be amazed at the information available on some peoples Facebook pages. Can you find on your own page the following information? Your birthday, you pets name, you place of birth, or your mother’s middle name. People also “Like” or “Follow” other Facebook or Twitter pages. Have you followed or liked your own bank? Who ever has access to your Facebook page now knows where you bank and the answers to many likely security questions that banks like to ask.

Obviously, if your bank is on the ball, then even with that information you should be ok, but do you really want to run that risk?

Another point to remember is that companies are using social media sites to research interview candidates. In todays climate, it is hard enough to get a job as it is without giving companies possible ammunition to use against you. Those great holiday snaps of you in Ibiza face down unconscious after a night out are a great laugh between friends, but certain companies can take a dim view of such behaviour and choose not to select you for interview based on it.

So, what can you do?

  • Lock down your profile. I could go in to detail on how to do it, but I would be reinventing the wheel. Head over to this website http://goo.gl/PiWkn for an excellent guide in locking down your profile.
  • Be mindful of what you post on your social media platform of choice. Some information, in hindsight, is better left unshared!
  • Finally, just like in real life don’t talk to complete strangers. You don’t know who they are, where they are from and most of all, what they want.

As Sgt. Phil always said in Hill Street Blues, “Let’s be careful out there”.

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