How to stay safe online part 2 – using social media
Social media tools like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter are fantastic resources for us to keep in touch with family and friends, read the latest news or connect with others who share similar interests.
With 1 in 2 Australians now using Facebook on a daily basis, it’s amazing to think how quickly these platforms have grown.
Australian seniors are one of the fastest growing social media audiences, and it’s a great way to stay in touch with family who live away, reconnect with old friends, or join new groups. But there are a few things you should do before you start posting to make sure your personal information is safe.
If you haven’t already done so, we recommend reading part 1 of this series, which looks at basic security tips like setting strong passwords or securing your device.
1. Think carefully about what information you put online
Online forums and social media sites are great for keeping in touch with friends and family, but be careful about what information you put online, about yourself and others.
dates of birth
information about your daily routine
holiday plans or photos – post at the end of your holiday rather than while you’re away.
2. Use privacy settings to control who can see your posts
Sites like Facebook do have privacy options so you can control who can see and engage with your content – it doesn’t have to be open to everyone in the world! Have a look here to see the different options: https://www.facebook.com/help/325807937506242/
Remember that even if you have privacy controls on your own account, if you add a comment or photo on someone else’s post, then it may be open for all people to see.
3. Don’t accept friend requests or invitations from people you don’t know
The whole point of social media is social interaction, so when you sign up you’re likely to start receiving friend requests from all sort of people -and it can be a great delight finding long lost friends! But you don’t have to accept every request that comes to you; you can – and should – be choosy.
If you don’t recognise the name and photo, it may be a fake account designed to try and mine personal information from you AND your friends.
4. ‘Keep calm and post on’
It might sound a bit scary with all this information, but remember that social media is a great way to stay connected and discover new things. Just keep a level head and think about the information you are posting before you hit ‘Publish’.
One way to think about it is to ask yourself, ‘Would I be comfortable saying to this to someone if they came up and asked me on the street?’. If someone asked you for your birthdate, would you answer straight away? Or if you are about to leave a comment on someone else’s post, would you be comfortable saying it in person? If you’re not sure, then don’t post it.
Call the grandkids!
Our grandkids are called ‘digital natives’ because these digital technologies have been around since they were born! For many, this type of interaction is second-nature and an integral part of their lives (maybe a little too much at times!).
It does mean they’re a great resource for advice when you’re starting to use social media, so if you can, spend some time together and go through anything you’re not sure of.
There’s lots of different social media platforms and they all offer something different so find one that appeals to you and start to get to know it – here's a quick guide to get you going: