What you share on social media is completely your choice – whether it is a public post or your personal profile. However, what others do with your personal information may not always be in your control. A seemingly insignificant mistake or carelessness can expose you to serious personal security threats. These mistakes can be easily avoided by becoming a little more aware of what you post on these social platforms. Following are some tried and tested safety tips to use social media wisely and securely.

Personalize your privacy settings

You can decide how much personal information you want to share with the world on your social media pages. All you need to do is to configure your privacy settings. You can prevent other people any access to your personal details such as email id, phone number, address, age, etc.by setting your privacy correctly.

Think before you post

Don’t post impulsively. It can cost you dearly if the information you share falls in wrong hands. Pause and think about whether you are comfortable with what you are sharing with the public. Information that reveals your personal details and whereabouts can pose a serious danger to your personal security. Avoid sharing any sensitive information even with your friends or acquaintances as you can always share it with them personally or over the phone.

Turn off Geo Location

Social media sites often ask for your location. However, you don’t have to share it if you are not comfortable doing so. If you absolutely have to share your location, consider waiting to tag it before you leave. Some social sites automatically make geo-tagged information public. When you log-in to Facebook, add an Instagram story or add a geo-tag to Snapchat, these sites will automatically share your location with the general public. Check your location sharing preferences in the privacy settings of these sites and update them to your preferred parameters.

Use a private Internet connection

Avoid using public Wi-Fi connections such as those available in coffee shops or airports, for sharing any sensitive data – for instance, when a website asks for your password. The possibility of such data getting stolen by hackers is high and may often end up putting your security at risk. When you use social media, make sure that you use a personal or private Wi-Fi network, use cellular data on your phone, or use it under the protection of a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

Keep track of your friends social posts

Sometimes your personal information such as your name, age, location, school, job, a photo of you or your house, etc. may get revealed unintentionally through a social post of your friend. Therefore, it is important that you set clear-cut boundaries with your friends about what you are comfortable with sharing about you on social media.

Respect each other’s requests about deleting certain posts that feel uncomfortable or embarrassing. Get the other persons permission before posting anything that may include their personal details or photographs. If you have approved a post, you can change your settings to make your tagged photos appear only on your own profile and not shared publicly on your timeline.

Report harassment or inappropriate content

If something is causing you discomfort on a social site, don’t shy away from reporting about it to the website admin. You can do so anonymously, i.e., without revealing your identity. If you experience any kind of harassment or abuse on a social site, immediately take a screenshot of the abusive messages and save them in case the offender deleted it to destroy the proof of his misbehavior. On Facebook, you can download your full Facebook history through the Download Your Information (DYI).

Look before you click on a message

Don’t click on any message or link that looks suspicious. Chances are that your friend’s account might have been hacked. In that case, everyone in her contact list will receive spam. To confirm whether it is a spam or a genuine message, contact that friend outside of the social site, such as on their personal email or phone.

Choose a strong password and update it frequently

This way, you will safeguard your account from hackers, spammers, impersonators, or stalkers who are always on a lookout to steal people’s personal data. Remember to keep your passwords in a secure location so they don’t fall in wrong hands.

Perform social media privacy check-ups regularly

Set reminders to revisit your social media privacy settings every 3 to 6 months to make sure that they are up-to-date. Social media platforms often update their privacy policies which make it imperative for users to update their privacy settings and sharing preferences accordingly.

We sincerely hope that with these tips in mind, you will be able to make the most of your social media experience without exposing yourself to any undue personal security risks.