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Being Safe On FaceBook

Do you have a personal account on Facebook? With over 500 million active users, the chances are you answered yes to that question. According to Facebook’s Statistics page, people as a whole spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook! So what are people doing during these billions and billions of minutes? Some people may simply use the social networking site to do just that, socialize. Many keep in touch with friends, family, or old schoolmates. People post their personal pictures up of anything from vacations to parties they’ve been to. Facebook can also be used to create events and send invitations out. Regardless of what you use your Facebook for, it is important to be safe and smart on the popular website.

 

An important step in being safe on Facebook is to set your account to “private”. You can do this by clicking on “Account” in the top right corner on your home page, then click on “Privacy Settings”. You can then select who can see certain things on your profile. The best way to keep your information safe is to block everyone from seeing your profile. An alternative way would be to allow only friends to see your profile and information. If you are going to allow all of your friends to have access to your profile, it is smart to only befriend people you trust and know personally. This will keep many strangers from viewing your profile and it will lower the risk of your information being used.

 

But just how safe are the privacy settings? Another important step to being safe on Facebook is to keep track of what you post or what others post about you because you can never be certain who can access it. Computer hackers and scammers exist, so it is important to keep your information limited. Do not post any addresses, phone numbers, or other personal information on Facebook even if your profile is set to private. Also, do not post any pictures of you or your friends participating in illegal activity because it could come back to haunt you. There have been numerous instances where prosecutors have used a defendant’s Facebook page to impose a harsher sentence:

 

Drunk driver gets into more trouble after posting Facebook photo

Post crime scene photos on Facebook, get 4 years in jail?

Facebook used as character evidence, lands some in jail

 

It is not only the legal system who looks at Facebook profiles:

 

Kaplan: Significant Facebook Use by Admissions Officers and Prospective Students

 

Keep inappropriate pictures off the web and ask your friends to do the same. The basic rules for being smart on Facebook are simple. You will be safe if you keep your profile private, “friend” only people you know, and be conscience of what you post online. If you wouldn’t want your future boss to see it or you don’t want to be surprised someday when your child shows you and old compromising photo of yourself, then you probably shouldn’t post it up. Use Facebook the way it is meant to be used: as a tool that connects you with your friends and family.