With the prevalence and popularity of social network sites today, safety as becoming a serious concern. This includes people of all ages, not just children. When you participate in social networking you are potentially exposing a lot of your life and personal information to the Internet at large. Before you know it that information can wind up in the wrong hands, so it's essential that you learn how to protect yourself immediately.
First and foremost, one of the most important steps towards protecting yourself is to keep all of your passwords safe. Your passwords should never be shared with anyone, and they should be different from site to site. None of these sites will ever ask you for your password, so do not believe any bogus emails or messages that you receive. Keep your password private, refuse to share it and report anyone that does ask you for it.
Choosing the right password will also help you protect yourself. Far too many people use short, simple passwords that can be easily guessed. Using your name for example, or something like the word "password" is a recipe for disaster. You should always try to include both letters and numbers, and even a special character or two if it's possible. The longer your password is, with more variation included, the less likely it will be to be hacked and found out.
Password protection is one of the most important elements of online safety while social networking but there are many other important factors as well. As mentioned, when you participate in these sites you are leaving yourself wide open to the world. This means that you have to take extra care to only include what you are comfortable sharing with everyone. Private pictures quickly escape into public view, and people share them, post them in other places and so on.
Everyone from schools to potential employers now checks in on sites such as Facebook and MySpace to see what people are up to. Even one embarrassing or inappropriate picture or comment can come back to haunt you. Do not think that marking something as private will do the job, and do not think that nobody will take the time to search. People will search, and everything ever gets found.
It's one of the inherent dangers of social networking, so be sure that anything you post, say or include you would be comfortable with everyone seeing and knowing. There are far too many horror stories out there already about people who got fired from a job, suspended from school or turned down for an open position someplace because of what was found out about them online.
Social network sites have proven to be a valuable tool for staying in touch with friends and family, meeting new people and more. However, with their popularity there also comes some well known risks. Pick a strong password and keep it to yourself, and be sure to be careful with what you post and say online. By taking these simple steps you will ensure your own safety and you will be able to enjoy a better online experience.