Your Essential Living
Senior Using Facebook

Important Safety Tips for Facebook and Other Social Media Sites

While Facebook may be falling out of favor with the younger crowd, for many seniors it’s an important social tool. The site helps us keep up with the news, friends and family, offers communities to join, and more. Whether reading horoscopes is your thing or knitting, there is a Facebook group for you.

However, it’s important to use the social network carefully to ensure your online safety and security.  Keep in mind that all news isn’t actually news, and not everyone is who they seem to be.

Here are some tips you can use to protect yourself.

Update Your Privacy Settings

Understanding Facebook’s privacy settings are your first line of defense in protecting your personal information. Familiarize yourself with the site’s privacy options and update your settings to keep your page hidden from strangers.

Under the category “Your Activity”, we suggest setting who can view your posts to friends only.

You can also lock down other portions of your page, like who can see your friends list and other details. Allowing anyone and everyone to access this information could put you at risk.

Be Careful Who You Add as a Friend

While it may seem cool to collect a large group of friends on Facebook, it may not be wise. It’s important that you trust those who you add as opposed to feeling obligated to accept any and all requests.

It’s OK to deny a friend request if you don’t recognize the sender. It’s also OK to unfriend people you are uncomfortable with. It’s also completely acceptable to block someone if you feel it’s necessary.

Make Strong Passwords

When using Facebook, we suggest using two-step authentication, though it can be a hassle. At the very least, you should have a good, strong password to keep your account secure.

Make sure anytime you change your password you use a lengthy combination of words, numbers, and special characters.

If you have trouble remembering it, consider downloading a password manager like KeePass.

Click with Care

Facebook is so huge, it’s quite hard to effectively police. Therefore, it’s important to traverse the site with an abundance of caution for numerous reasons.

First of all, you’ll want to avoid clicking on links that seem suspicious. If you receive an unusual or dubious message from a friend, it’s possible their account has been hacked. Also, if something seems too good to be true, it very likely is. This includes scam offers like free gift card offers or the ability to see who views your profile.

Facebook is full of fakery – from false and misleading news stories and memes to downright criminal activity. You should also be extra careful when allowing applications access to your profile as well. You may come across some cutesy horoscope quiz, but think twice about allowing it to access all of your data. It’s likely just a scam to collect your information.

In short, make sure you know and trust the source before clicking anything, even if it seems like a reputable news source.

Avoid Over-Sharing

While we love to share things about ourselves and our lives with others, over-sharing can be dangerous. Keep in mind who all you’re sharing your status posts with when you make them. If your privacy settings are set to public, for example, anything you post is there for the world to see.

Even if you have friends-only privacy settings, you should still consider who all you have added.

While you can set individual posts to show only specific people, it’s still dangerous to post certain personal information or news about yourself.

Never ever share financial information or sensitive personal details. Sharing your location is also inadvisable as well, as this can let people know when you aren’t home.

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