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Staying Safe on Social Media

2 August, 2019

Social Media
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We live in a highly technological age, and a huge part of the change that we see around us is to do with the Internet and Social Media. Even though many people from then earlier generation are reluctant, at times, they are almost forced to adopt a few of these technologies and Social Media platforms, just so they can be comfortable in touch in with their friends and family.

WhatsApp is a common media platform for many people to be in touch, share information, news, videos, and more. Family and friends WhatsApp groups are common, and to be inclusive and be aware and be in touch, the seniors have also sportingly learned to move on with these tools. Facebook is another platform where you find a lot of seniors participating, as this is again a rather easy platform to create an account and use. However, while the young are quite tech-savvy, and can watch out for themselves, perhaps the seniors need to keep an eye out, for a lot of unwanted incidents that take place on these social media platforms.

Passwords

Whether you create an account on your own or request any family member to do so, please have a strong, unique password, that may not get hacked easily. Please make sure that the password is never shared with anyone, as misuse of identity is a very common thing in social media. People could use your account, impersonate you and request your family and friends into sharing some confidential information, or worse still, transfer money, etc. When this is done from your account, you will be liable for the consequences. Hence, always change the password, if someone created the account for you, and make sure that it is not shared with anyone else.

Be careful about what you share

If it is a family WhatsApp group, you may have the luxury of sharing your pics, information, whereabouts, etc. with them. But on a purely social platform like Facebook or Instagram, please be careful about what you post. The pics that you post can also be misused, and thieves and hackers can use the information that you post about your whereabouts to their advantage.

There have been occasions when thieves have told the police that they came to know that a house would be unoccupied for stealing through social media information. Also, please make sure that you never, ever post your personal details, like email id, contact number, address, bank account details, etc. on a social platform. Even if someone known is asking for these details on a social media platform, please make sure to take it offline and complete the information sharing using other traditional ways like a phone call, etc.

Don’t click on unknown or unsolicited links

Sometimes, you find some unknown or unsolicited links being shared with you in your email, Facebook, or even through an SMS or WhatsApp message. Please be very careful about clicking on anything that you receive from an unknown number or source. These could be spam, phishing messages, or viruses, or even more harmful stuff. It could trigger something totally unknown to you, by installing something on your computer or phone to track your activities and can get you into serious trouble, if they use the information gained, for nefarious activities.

Report any abuse or unwanted follow-ups

Sometimes, it is possible that you may get bullied by someone into sharing information or doing something that you do not wish to. If you find that someone has impersonated your friends and become your friend, and is pushing you to do something you are not comfortable, you can report the same on the platform using the options given, or to the police and cybercrime cells.

One good thing is not to accept friend requests anyone unknown, and also to confirm from people, if they are really who they claim to be, before accepting requests. There could be people who can Photoshop (modify) your pics and try to blackmail you as well. If people get hold of your contact number, they can even try and con you into doing something like sharing your credit card details, etc., claiming that they are calling from the bank. Please do not share any such information with anyone at any cost.

Using social media can be a double-edged sword; however, with a little care and caution, you can stay safe and use it wisely, and be online with your friends and family. Please seek help at the first sign of trouble or abuse that you suspect, and you should be good to be tech-savvy.

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