Facebook Safety

Facebook Do’s & Does not’s

While many people are fully aware of all the dangers associated with Facebook and other social networks, many teens are just now getting their first account and exploring their new freedoms.

Unfortunately, there are bad guys out there who seek to exploit these new Facebook members. Follow these safety and security tips to help make your Facebook experience a safer one:

  1. Don’t register for an account until you’re 13

While you may want an account when your 11 or 12, Facebook specifically forbids anyone younger than 13 from registering. If they find out you are lying about your age they may terminate your account and all of your content including your pictures.

  1. Don’t use your real first or middle name

Facebook’s policy forbids fake names but does allow for nicknames as your first or middle name. Don’t use your full legal name because doing so could help predators and identity thieves obtain more information about you. Check out Facebook’s Help Center for more guidance on what names are permitted

  1. Set strong privacy settings.

While you may want to be a social butterfly, you need to set your Facebook privacy settings so that not just anyone can see your profile and content. It is best to only make the details of your profile available to people you have already “accepted” as your friends.

  1. Don’t post any contact information on your profile

Don’t make your personal e-mail or your cellphone number viewable on your profile. If you do post this info it’s possible that a rogue facebook application or hacker could use this information to SPAM or torment you. I recommend not even allowing your Facebook friends to have this info. Your real friends will have your cell phone number and a-mail anyway. The less exposure the better.

  1. Don’t ever post your location or that you are home alone

Criminals and predators could use your location information to track you down. You might think that only your friends would have access to this information, but if your friends’ account is left logged in on a public computer or their account gets hacked then strangers will now have your location information. Never ever post that you are home alone.

  1. Report any abusive postings or harassment

If you ever feel threatened by anyone on Facebook or someone is harassing you by sending unwanted Facebook messages or posting something abusive on your public wall, report it by clicking the “report abuse” link on the post. If someone posts a picture of you that you don’t like, you have the right and the ability to “untag” yourself.

  1. Create a strong password for your account and don’t share it

If your password is too simple, someone could easily guess it and break into your account. You should never provide anyone with your password. Always make sure that you log out of facebook completely if your using a public computer in a Library or school computer lab.

  1. Be smart about what you post

There are some things you should never post on Facebook. When you post something, always remember that it can affect other people and could be used against you in the future, so be smart.

Just because you delete something on Facebook after you say it, doesn’t mean someone didn’t take a screen shot of it before you had the chance to remove it. If you post something embarrassing about yourself or others, it may come back to haunt you in the future when you apply for a job or try to get into a college that checks Facebook profiles. If you don’t feel comfortable enough saying something in front of someone then it’s probably best not to post it online either.

  1. Keep an eye out forFacebook scamsand rogue applications

Not all Facebook apps are made by good people. Usually a Facebook app will require access to parts of your profile as a condition of using it. If you give an app access and it’s a bad application then you might have just opened yourself up for SPAM or worse. If in doubt, check it out by Googling the app’s name followed by “scam” to see if there is any reported shenanigans.

  1. If your account gets hacked,report it immediately

Don’t be too embarrassed to report your account getting hacked by someone. It’s important that you report the hack immediately. Hackers may try and impersonate you using your hacked account for the purpose of getting your friends to fall for their scams. Check out How to Tell a Facebook Friend From a Facebook Hacker” for more information.

11. Think about who you add

It’s not all about the numbers of friends. Remember when you accept a friend request you provide your new friend with access to lots of information about you. This includes, posts, photographs, messages and all the background information that you write about yourself. You can delete friends at any time, so perhaps it’s time to refresh your list and think about who you really want accessing your information.

12 Check your settings

Recently, Facebook changed the default privacy setting to share information publicly. It’s worth spending some time to go through your settings and adjust where necessary; you may be sharing more than you intended. You even have the option to add ‘limited profiles’ for those people that you may not want accessing your personal information. It’s up to you how you want to use these settings so it’s definitely worth having a look to create a profile that’s right for you!

13.Why are you on Facebook?

Ask yourself what you want to achieve with your profile. Is it just to share photos, or keep in touch with people, or even to share links and updates of your activities? Sometimes it’s better to cut down what you show on your profile; this includes signing up to applications which also take a lot of your data. You can always add or remove options as you go, so if your needs change, so should your profile.

14.Be smart about your password

Try not to use the same passwords on all of your accounts. It’s also important to be mindful of where you are sending your updates and the types of security questions you set.

15.Be aware of where you sign in from

Check that the computer that you sign in from doesn’t store your email address and password. It seems simple but often it’s easy to accidently choose it to ‘remember you’. Make sure you have the appropriate privacy settings on your browser.

16.Be careful what you say

Make sure that what you say in status updates and comments is something that you would be comfortable seeing on the front page of a newspaper. Once you post it, anyone that sees it can copy and post it elsewhere, or take action based on it. Do you really want everyone to know that you will be all alone at home tonight or away next week?

17.Watch out for Phishing Attacks

Over the past year, there have been many attempts to get users to give up their login and passwords by tricking them with fake emails from Facebook. Never select any email links asking you to click to reset your password. Always go directly to Facebook – if there is a problem, Facebook will notify you on site.

18.Take immediate action

If friends start receiving spam from you or status updates appear that you didn’t make, your account may have been compromised. If you think this has happened, immediately change your password. If you can’t log in to your account, go to the Help link at the bottom of any Facebook page and click on Security to notify Facebook about your account.

19.Protect your mobile device.

Be mindful about who might have access to your mobile phone. Many phones today have apps that connect you into many social networking sites such as Facebook. Therefore, if you use these apps, make sure you log out of them when you are no longer using them.

20.Monitor suspicious activity

Watch out for suspicious activity on your Wall, News Feed and Facebook Inbox. Never, ever click on suspicious links. They can often look enticing, e.g. “Hey come look at my charity cycling pictures on my site.” Before you click, look closely! Does the site look authentic? If in doubt, don’t click on it.

As with any online activity be smart, be aware, be careful, and you can stay as safe on Facebook as anywhere else.


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