The internet is all about content. From sensational news, viral photos, helpful guides, and sharing unique experiences, whatever you post online, you are making connections. By simply sharing your photo or even your personal opinions online, you may think that the act is perfectly safe or harmless. The truth is – it can be very dangerous, especially when you overshare your personal information. This is because when you surf the internet, you leave bits and traces of your information everywhere. Whether you share your e-mail address in exchange for getting access to a scholarly article or share content on your social media, you leave information that can be traced back to you. In this age of the internet and social media, it’s important for us to be extra careful with the things we share or the activities we do online.
So how do you protect yourself when you go online? Here are some valuable guidelines which online users should always take note of.
1. Don’t post stuff which you don’t want others to see
This can be considered as one of the most basic precautions you can take to protect yourself online. Always keep in mind whom you share your content with – even if it is just a small group of people or audience, as information can be easily transmitted from one person to another with just a simple click. Don't share status posts that give insight to your personal life or any information that could be used against you. Most importantly, you shouldn’t let anyone know about your schedule and the places you frequently go to.
2. Always be aware and alert of your online activities
Going online is one of the easiest things a person can do nowadays. You just turn on your router and you’re connected. However, there are certain things that you should know before you go online. The constant threat of viruses, malware, and the presence of hackers especially on public Wi-Fi's should not be taken for granted. Know that several malicious entities are prying on your data for their own benefit. Also, do not just simply connect to public Wi-Fi for the sake of convenience as some of these networks might be set by hackers. Once you connect to these networks, you are exposing your privacy and data to hackers and you let them take advantage of whatever information you share online.
3. Avoid weighing in on sensitive/controversial topics
A lot of people have clashing views regarding politics and religion. If you’re not careful when you post about these controversial topics, you might lose followers and even draw the ire of other people. Depending on your location, posting comments on these topics might be even considered illegal or condemnable by authorities.
4. Do not share your location
Going back to point #1, always think responsibly when you post information, especially your current location as malicious entities can take advantage of this virtually or even in the real world. Do not let the public know that you are outside and that nobody is home because potential thieves can easily take advantage of this information. Furthermore, remember not to announce a vacation beforehand. You can post your photos on Facebook after the trip or once you’re already back home from the trip. Do not let others know of your absence, especially if it’s for a prolonged period.
5. Think twice before you share
If you’re sitting alone in front of your computer, you might want to reblog, retweet or share a particular post. But if a person is sitting right next to you, would you still be comfortable to do the same given the fact that they could be one of your followers or even a family member? Hitting the share button is easy when you’re all by yourself. But it also might offend someone – even those you consider close to you. So, as a precaution, imagine that someone is sitting right next to you whenever you post something online. This will help you realize whether a particular post is worth sharing or not.
6. Keep your Social Media Accounts Private and Confidential
When you keep your accounts private, even if you share something that might be generally considered as offensive, only a small audience will get to see this content. Of course, it’s prudent to keep in mind not to overshare, but the thing is – even if you do, only a few eyes will get to see it. By setting up private accounts on social media, you ensure that your posts will only reach the people who follow you.
7. Never share work-related information
Online privacy is becoming a real-world concern nowadays, especially with the advent of various social media platforms here and there. If you have a knack for sharing too much online, it’s probably high time that you make some effort to make your online presence more private. Otherwise, the repercussions may be too much for you to handle. A good way to ensure that your online presence remains secure and private is through the use of a reliable VPN. By using a VPN’s encryption and tunneling technology, all information that you transmit online will be secure and kept away from prying and malicious entities on the internet.
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