Mobile Sharing Safety Tips

Mobile Sharing Safety Tips

In a recent study carried out by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, about 81 percent respondents said they use their phone to send or receive text messages, and 83 percent use it to take pictures. In fact, these were the far more popular use of cell phones; at distant third was accessing the Internet, which 59 percent of the respondents said they did.

While this study was done on people that were above 18 but it’s hard to assume similar attitudes and trends among youngsters, too. According to Pew, over 78 percent of the teens own a cell phone and about half of them send 1400 text messages in a month.

From sharing to oversharing!

For all those who own them, we all love our phones. Millions of people around the world share photos, videos and other types of content online. Explosive growth of Facebook shows that people really love sharing things with others, probably as much as we love using our cell phones. The only other thing that we love more than either of these is doing them both!

Sharing is now so easy with hundreds of mobile social networking apps such as Facebook , Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr. The fact that we can capture something we’ve seen and can also share it immediately with our family and friends is really an amazing ability. Just one tap and you have a beautiful picture. One more and you can send the picture to millions.

Take Hurricane Sandy, for instance, Instagram, the hugely popular photo sharing app logged around 1.6 million photos tagged with the word #sandy. All these images were taken by the people and shared with millions around the world, so that they can themselves see what all is happening, closely and in real time.

It will definitely go down as a good example of social media power and usefulness to do good. But these same tools can also be misused easily, much to the detriment of person using it.

In the recent years, researches have been busy tracking the current trends among youth around the world of taking pictures of their new credit or debit cards, driver’s license and posting them on social media and other websites for all to see. Home addresses and account numbers are clearly visible. Nobody cares to blur them and you can find many online with a simple quick search.

These users have made it very easy for stalkers, thieves and other criminals to carry out their crimes easily. We’re sure there is a massive trend but it’s definitely a risky behavior that can prove disastrous. It’s another example why it’s important for us to guide youngsters about responsible, safe use of technology before we hand over it to them.

How to Guide our Snap-Happy Kids

People have been oversharing since years. The website highlighted the bad judgment by many social media users when they publicly post their information letting other know about their exact location, through services like Foursquare. (This website no longer showcases users public posts, but a URL is still there to educate and raise awareness about risks of oversharing).

We’re all social animals and love to share. We want to shout about our good news aloud, bet it a new job, a new drivers license, a 25 pound turkey or a new baby because we really want to be congratulated for it. That’s understandable. It’s human nature.

But now’s the time to consider what we should share and with whom we should share it with. We must understand and help our children know to understand what is and what isn’t ok to share. You should give some guidance to your kids, perhaps before you buy them a new cell phone this holiday.

It’s important to understand and follow the rules. All social media websites require their users to be at least 13. So, if your child is not yet 13 and has a smart phone or some other device, you need to wait. You can turn on restrictions that will prevent them from using the apps that are age appropriate.

Be careful on social media

Sometimes you’re required to divulge some level of personal information to fully benefit from social media sites, so the risk of identity theft definitely exists for all those who use them. Some of the ways by which you can put yourself to the risk of identity theft are:

  • Accepting invitations to connect with unfamiliar contacts or persons
  • Using no or low privacy settings
  • Giving your account details and password to people you know
  • Downloading free apps for use on your profile
  • Falling for email scams that ask you to update your social media profiles
  • Clicking on links that lead to other websites even if the link was sent by a friend
  • Participating in various quizzes that require you to divulge lot of personal information
  • Using outdated security software on your computer

Here are few examples on how people can become victims of identity thefts on social media sites:

Example 1: Someone has hacked a women’s social media account and is posting rude comments and embarrassing photos on her profile. All these actions appear to be from her but in reality they are not. Although women uses highest privacy settings, but has shared too much privacy information with others. Even if you’ve set your profile to private everything you’re posting online is public.

Example 2: You receive a message from your friend with a link to a funny video, so you click on it. This link does not bring up a video. Actually your friend’s profile has been hacked and now a malicious software is being downloaded on your computer as a result of clicking on the link. This software is meant to hack into your account and steal private information.

So it’s best to assume that anything you post online is public. Think before you share even if it’s with just one person. Only take and share pictures you would mind everyone seeing.

Be a minimalist and say only what you really need to say, even to those you already know and trust. Use privacy settings as they are available on social media sites. This way, only the people you allow will see your photos.

Be alert about all those who follow or friend you. Share your photos with only those you know. Ignore follow or friend requests from those you don’t know. Also turn off geo-location on you camera as this feature exactly pinpoints to the location where you took the photo. You can do this by turning off the geo location feature on your phone.

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