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Warning! Social Media, The Hidden Dangers!

prepare-for-job-interviewSocial Media has taken the world by storm and people of all ages and from all over the world use Social Media Networks everyday. Social Media is a great way to keep in touch with family and friends, to advertise your business and even a way to find a new job.

Yet, as popular as it is, Social Media is not without its risk and precautions should be taken in order to ensure that you and your family stay safe whilst enjoying using Social Media Websites. This article highlights the hidden dangers of using Social Media Networks and also how you can keep yourself safe.

The 5 Biggest Dangers to Consider When Using Social Media Websites

  1. Your account could be hacked – If the password to your account is not secure enough, or you leave your account logged on in a public place, your account could be hacked into and used by another person. By viewing your Social Media Profile, your hacker may be able to find out sensitive information about you or your family. You could also be impersonated by the hacker which could make your friends and family vulnerable.
  2. You could have your identity stolen – Many people who use Social Media Websites post their personal information for all to see, or at least friends of friends to see. By posting about where you live, where you work, your date of birth and what school and college you went to, you could be leaving yourself wide open to a cyber attack. Wikipedia highlights that one way Cyber Criminals find the information to commit Identity Theft is by Browsing social networking websites for personal details published by users, often using this information to appear more credible in subsequent social engineering activities.A cyber criminal could also use the information you post, such as your children’s or pet’s names, to figure out your passwords and hack into your accounts.
  3. You could lose your job – Social Media Networks can be a very useful tool when it comes to finding new employment but discretion is advised when using these websites. Lebreton Recruitment recently warned that: potential employers will use the social media profiles of job applicants as a way of finding out information about them. If your Social Media Profile contains photos or comments that do not show you in a positive light then you could limit your chances of finding or keeping your job. People have lost their jobs over comments they have posted on online social networks so always think carefully about what you post.
  4. Cyberbullying is on the increase – Sadly Cyberbullying, or the use of the internet to deliberately and repeatedly cause harm or distress to another person is on the increase. Cyberbullying frequently happens on Social Media Websites and anyone could be at risk. Cyberbullying can cause low self-esteem and extreme upset to the victim, resulting in some victims even taking their own lives.
  5. You could leave yourself vulnerable to attack –Posting details about yourself could leave you personally open to attack. For instance, the photos and comments you post could give a clear indication of where you live and by openly posting about your next holiday you could be letting a criminal know when your house will be empty.

You Can Protect Yourself From the Dangers of Social Media Networks

So does all of this mean that you should just not use Social Media Websites altogether? No, of course not! As mentioned previously Social Media is a very useful tool and when used correctly it is relatively safe. Here are some practical tips on how to protect yourself from danger:

  • Think carefully about what you post – Before you make any comment or reply to another post think about the effect the message might have. It could be that the message could cause offense to another person or could even be considered abusive. Abusive messages can affect your future job prospects so be mindful of each and every post you make. It can take seconds to make a post but the consequences can last much longer.
  • Make use of ‘report’ buttons – Recently Social Media Websites have been under pressure to do something to tackle the growing problem of Cyberbullying. The Daily Mail recently reported that after one of its campaigns one Social Media Network had:an ‘in-tweet’ report button has been added so people can report abusive behaviour directly from a tweet. One way you can protect yourself from abuse is to report any abusive messages or photos you see or receive.

Keep your content private – There are various ways that you can keep your content private and one of those is by changing your setting so that only people you know can see your information. Only allow people you trust to see your personal information. Ensure that you log out of your accounts, so that no one else can use them, every time you use them and make your passwords secure and difficult to guess so that you are less likely to be hacked.

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  • Image: http://www.istockphoto.com

By Ross Davies

Ross Davies lives in the UK with wife and two sons. He enjoys writing about social media, money saving tips and recruitment. In his spare time he can be found at the gym or at a cat show.

Posted in Social Networking.

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