Women's Day 2016: A guide to staying safe on social media in the 21st century

Let's face it. Cyber crime against women has reached it's highest peak, or maybe not. It can get worst in time. And that's why being safe, particularly on social media, is of prime importance. In 2016, a time when everything around is going digital, social media plays a crucial role in communication. It has created a world that is more open and connected, enabling people to share the most important parts of their lives with families, friends and communities.

As we celebrate Women's Day, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), Centre for Social Research and Facebook have teamed up to offer a few tips on how to help maintain safety and control over your information.

How strong is your defense?

For starters, it's all about how strong the password is. Passwords should be easy for you to remember but hard for someone else to figure out. A statement that sounds very obvious, but that still doesn't stop passwords from being the most common and easy to decipher. You should always try opting for a new or different password for different accounts, such as email or bank accounts. In case of Facebook, the service sends you a notification if someone tries logging into your account from a new device or browser. For extra security, Facebook also asks users to enter a special security code each time they try to access their account from a new computer, phone or browser.

Image: Reuters

Image: Reuters

In addition, you also need to be sure as to where you are signed in. Security settings for ever social media service shows users a list of browsers and devices that have been used to log into your account recently. Most importantly, always choose to have trusted contacts on social media. You don't really want someone creeping into your profile and making unethical comments.

Taking control of your privacy

Never choose to have your profile open to all on social media. Some level of privacy is necessary. For instance, sharing words on Twitter or updating a status on Facebook also offers you the option of limiting its visibility, use it. Customised tools are available which allow users to determine who sees what you share. Facebook also offers two options within the Timeline and Tagging Settings for reviewing content that is tagged. The first allows users to approve or dismiss posts that you are tagged in before they appear on your Timeline while the second option allows users to approve or dismiss tags that people add to their posts.

Thanks to GPS, our location sometimes automatically gets shared online in various forms such as with apps, by checking-in, via private messages, or by someone else tagging you too. One should always be cautious while sharing their location and with whom, in an effort to protect your location when possible.


Can everyone be trusted online?

Social media is the online space where you connect with friends, family, classmates and co-workers. Many people online try to use tactics such as impersonating a friend to gain access to personal information. While receiving a friend request or approving any sort of requests online, one must make sure that the profile looks genuine and you have at least a few common friends. If you want to meet new people online, try connecting with Pages and groups that interest you.

Extreme measures, when required! 

If you feel that someone is making you uncomfortable with their comments on social media, you should quickly unfriend them. In addition, blocking a person ensures they can no longer see things you post on your profile, tag you, invite you to events or groups or start a conversation with you. Worst case scenario, users can also report them to the service. A global team of any social network reviews and removes anything that violates their terms. If someone is harassing you, threatening you or making you feel unsafe, you can talk to a local domestic violence victim advocate or law enforcement official about your options.

Published Date: Mar 08, 2016 10:39 AM | Updated Date: Mar 08, 2016 10:39 AM