The Internet has changed our lives in more ways than one. We’re able to communicate with people all over the world. We can watch our favourite films at the click of a button. And it’s never been quicker to keep up with friends and celebrities that we admire.
However, it’s also increased the likes of cyberbullying as well as making it harder to control exactly who is seeing what we post. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t use the Internet, but you do need to stay mindful while online.
Many of us know that we shouldn’t reveal personal information like our address, bank details and passwords online. But did you know that the content you do post could actually be revealing a whole lot more than you anticipate? In response to a clear lack of awareness on this issue, ExpressVPN’s privacy infographic asks social media users to consider what’s in their photos before posting. Does it give away something personal or reveal where you live?
In addition, the metadata and geolocation data associated with your posts could give someone crucial information as to where you are or where you frequently go. It’s also advised that you don’t tag locations in photos until you’ve left. With more than 4 billion Internet users across the world, it’s never been easier for your content to land in front of the wrong person. Plus, the picture-sharing social media platform, Instagram is responsible for nearly 50% of online bullying, so it pays to be smart when it comes to your uploads.
One of the best things about social media is the fact we can connect with friends and family and also make new connections with like-minded individuals. However, if you don’t actually know the person or haven’t met them before, it’s wise to be wary about what you do share about yourself.
The Javelin Identity Fraud Study found that those who are bullied are nine times more likely to become a victim of identity fraud, with some experts believing this is because personal information obtained through bullying is then used to steal a victim’s identity.
That’s not to say that every friend you meet online is going to be bad. But, you might want to pick and choose who you do engage with. Plus, if you ever feel uncomfortable or the person you’re speaking to crosses the line, save the evidence and block them.
Just because you receive a message from a ‘friend’ doesn’t mean it’s safe to click or open. Be wary of communications from people you don’t know well and, before opening any attachments, send another message to confirm that they actually sent it.
As well as this, some viruses mean that people can access webcams secretly. When you’re not using it, you could cover it with a piece of paper or a sticker. Plus, when you are using it, you should be mindful of what’s in the background. If your clothing has any work logos on it, for example, you might be best changing so as to not give any personal information away.
The above tips are not there to scare you but to help you stay safe online. Be wary of who you engage with, think before you post and remember that once something has been posted, there’s no way of completely removing it.