Privacy

This post includes content adapted from onguardonline.gov.

Use your privacy settings to restrict who can see and post on your profile. Many mobile phones have GPS technology, and there are applications that allow you to find your friends — and allow other people to find you. If you intend to use applications that allow your location to be pinpointed on a map, make sure to do so only with people you know personally and trust. Take advantage of privacy features, and remember to think before you share. Never share anything that could harm yourself or anyone else.

Here are some tips to keep your information private:

  • Familiarize yourself with the privacy settings on every social media site you use. To adjust your privacy settings on MeetMe, click here.
  • Think critically about what other people could do with the information you post online. Do you track your exercise route on a mobile app? Could that route lead someone right to your home? Do you check in often at different locations such that a stranger could learn your schedule and find you?
  • Treat your personal information like cash; don’t hand it out to just anyone. Personal information includes things as seemingly normal like your favorite coffeehouse to things that are clearly personal like your phone number and email address.
  • Create passwords that are unpredictable. When creating a password it is important that it is long (10 to 12 characters) and includes a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters. Do not share your password with anyone, not even with your best friend or significant other.

Know what to share

Just because you know your privacy settings doesn’t necessarily mean you know what should be kept private. On Facebook, many people have settings such that only their “friends” can see what they post. However, as our social circles expand and we add more friends and they share our posts, our profiles can become available to people who aren’t friends, but acquaintances, parents, employers, or college admissions representatives. Be mindful about who can view your profile, and what you are saying.

Half of potential employers will reject a worker after looking at their Facebook page.[i] There are no stats on admissions officers, but they are checking it, too. Did you hear about the guy who stole over $200K from Seattle banks and then posted about his exploits on Facebook?[ii] How about the kid who got busted for possession when he posted pictures of himself hitting a bong? Untagging yourself in inappropriate pictures isn’t enough – if it’s online, consider it public. If you have a picture or post that you would be devastated if the whole world saw, delete it.

Watch what you post online.