5 Ways to Stay Safe on Social Media

by thesquadron.in


Social media connects us to friends, family, colleagues, brands, news, entertainment, and more. However, it also comes with risks to our privacy, data, mental health, relationships, jobs, and even physical safety. By taking some common-sense precautions, we can continue enjoying the benefits of social networking while minimizing the downsides. Let’s explore five key ways to stay safer on social media.

1. Limit Personal Information Sharing

What we choose to share about ourselves shapes how others perceive us both online and offline. While it’s tempting to openly share personal details, this exposes us to various risks:

  • Identity theft – Fraudsters can piece together tidbits to steal our identity and apply for loans/credit cards. [6]explore.quantumfiber.com
  • Stalking/harassment – Posting too many personal details facilitates stalking and harassment. [1]carleton.ca
  • Damaged reputation – Oversharing private activities can hurt our professional reputation and job prospects if viewed by the wrong people. [3]everfi.com
  • Blackmail – Embarrassing photos or messages could be used for blackmail.

So before sharing anything, pause and ask yourself – do I really need to post this? Who might see it? Could it be perceived negatively? Erring on the side of caution is wise.

2. Leverage Privacy Settings

Social platforms allow customizing exactly who sees what content through granular privacy configurations. However, default settings are often very open. Be sure to:

  • Restrict viewing for sensitive posts to only close friends/family. [3]everfi.com
  • Disable location tagging/check-ins to avoid broadcasting your movements. [1]carleton.ca
  • Turn off advertiser tracking which profiles you for targeted ads.
  • Regularly review and update privacy settings as policies frequently change.

Locking down privacy prevents issues stemming from oversharing, while still letting you connect with your real friends and family.

3. Practice Account Security

Like any online account containing personal information, it’s critical to keep social media accounts secure:

  • Use strong, unique passwords for each account, with multi-factor authentication enabled where possible. [2]linkedin.com
  • Beware of phishing attempts trying to steal login credentials. [1]carleton.ca
  • Use up-to-date antivirus/anti-malware software to block malware trying to access accounts or spyware tracking activity.
  • Be cautious of third-party apps requesting account permissions. Only allow access to trustworthy apps actually needed.
  • Monitor linked accounts for unauthorized charges indicating compromised credentials.

Proactively securing accounts saves the headache of dealing with hijacked profiles or stolen identities down the road.

4. Avoid Dangerous Groups/Pages

It’s tempting to join groups and follow pages discussing controversial stances we disagree with. However, this often leads to stressful, unproductive arguments that fail to change minds. Worse still, it risks exposing us to:

  • Disturbing/dangerous content like hate speech, violence, misinformation, etc. [4]rainn.org
  • Potential recruitment by extremist groups leveraging social platforms. [5]ncsc.gov.uk

Rather than directly engaging opposing groups, focus conversations on pages aligned with your values. Seek trusted news sources presenting factual evidence across perspectives. The healthiest discussions happen in good faith, open-mindedness and nuance.

5. Control Usage Habits

While immensely useful when used intentionally, social media competes heavily for our attention. Without conscious moderation, endless scrolling can become addictive, wasting precious time and mental energy. To take control:

  • Track usage with phone settings or third-party apps to understand habits.
  • Set daily time limits for each platform to prevent overuse.
  • Enable focus modes during work/family time to avoid distractions. [2]linkedin.com
  • Take periodic social media “fasts” for mental clarity.

As with most things, social networking in moderation provides the right balance of risk and reward.


By being thoughtful about what we share, who sees it and how much time we spend scrolling feeds, social platforms can enrich our lives. Approaching them with basic precautions allows us to connect with more peace of mind. At the end of the day, common sense is the best defense for staying safe.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How often should I review privacy settings?

A: Review them at least every few months as policies frequently change. Also check them immediately after major platform updates.

Q: What are signs my account got hacked?

A: Unexpected password reset emails, unknown posts/messages from your account, missing followers/friends, unusual login locations in account activity logs.

Q: Is it safe to use public Wi-Fi to access social accounts?

A: No, public Wi-Fi risks account hijacking via man-in-the-middle attacks. Always use trusted networks.

Q: Should I click on sponsored posts or ads?

A: Avoid clicking as these enable advertiser tracking and profiling for targeting purposes.

Q: How much time daily is reasonable to spend on social networking?

A: Health experts suggest no more than 2 hours daily on social leisure activities to prevent distractions and addiction.

🌐 Sources

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