How to keep yourself and your info safe online
Chomas, there are so many great things about being on social media - like connecting with friends and family instantly, sharing photos as well as being able to laugh now and then. But social media can be really dangerous if you’re not careful with how you use it Chomas, so here’s a bit of advice on how to use the internet a little more safely.
Be careful of scammers
Choma, have you ever been online and come across someone selling things like shoes, make up, and even waist trainers through an Instagram boutique? Maybe you’ve come across someone asking for financial help online, or saying they just want to meet people and make friends. Choma remember that not everyone is as honest as we hope they are. Scammers are a real thing and can cheat you out of your money, your time and your safety. If you’re meeting someone online to buy something or to hang out, always make sure you meet in an open, public space and that you have a few friends in common who have met the person, otherwise it’s not a good idea, Choma.
Choose strong passwords
It’s really easy to get hacked these days, especially if you’re logging in to your social media using public Wi-Fi or a public computer Choma. Always make sure your social media passwords are long and include uppercase letters and numbers to make it strong. Remember, never use your birthday, surname or names of close family & friends in your passwords - it’s best to use completely random letters and numbers and remember it.
Don’t give out your personal info
Choma, your personal information should be just that - personal! So always be super careful if someone online is asking for your bank card details, ID number, cellphone number, home or school address. You also shouldn’t upload this info to your social media profiles otherwise any random person can find them.
Also be careful of sharing your personal pictures online. It might seem perfectly safe and innocent to send personal photos or even nude pictures over the internet - but you really can’t be sure where your pictures will end up. Once you’ve shared your pictures with someone, you’ve basically given someone else control over them - so be very careful.
Check your privacy settings
Speaking of random people Choma, you can make sure that people you don’t know won’t find your social profiles online. Different apps have different ways to change privacy settings to make your experience safer, you can read these guides for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Download with caution
I’m sure you like having the latest music on your phone or laptop, right? Well, sometimes this can come at a cost Choma. Downloading music from suspicious websites or clicking on ads that pop-up on random websites can give your device a virus. So be careful of visiting sites don’t seem familiar to you or clicking on things that force you for your attention (like things that say “click on this now!” or “you won’t believe how much money this woman made!”). If you can, download and anti-virus to protect your phone or laptop from harmful websites.
Think before you post
This might seem like something that’s really obvious but Choma, it’s so easy to quickly post something that might reveal your personal information or location online. Did you know that if your profile is public on Facebook and your location settings are on, anyone who follows your profile can see where you are or going every time you “Check in” to a certain area? Pretty scary right? One tip that works is to type out your post and save it as a draft, that way, you can give yourself time to think about and examine what you’re about to post and whether it’s actually necessary, Choma. Before you post also ask yourself: “Will I be okay with this coming up years later?” Because that’s exactly what your risk Choma. Once something is online or even sent via the internet, it’s almost impossible to take back. Even if you try to delete it - there’s a chance that someone else has already saved it or taken a screenshot. That picture or information can then land up in the wrong persons hands and can live on the internet for many years.
Choma, too many people have fallen victim to online scams, and sometimes, these things can be prevented. All it takes is just a little moment of thoughtfulness and paying close attention to the details.
Remember, you can also send me a message to talk to me about anything. If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).
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