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HindustanTimes Sat,25 Oct 2014

Go social but stay safe, warns Sonam Kapoor

Sonam Kapoor, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 12, 2012
First Published: 17:11 IST(12/4/2012) | Last Updated: 01:22 IST(13/4/2012)

This is the age of social media, and I know we all love our Facebook, Twitter and MySpace page etc, since it’s a great way to communicate, stay in touch with people, make new friends, work contacts and even organise events and meetings.

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It has most definitely made the world much smaller, I mean 1 in 8 people in the US got married after they met on social media. But for every pro there is a con. All that accessibility is also a big breeding ground for stalkers, sexual predators and scammers. Even though the pros completely outweigh the cons of social media I thought it would be nice to give some cautionary advice.

SonamLet’s go step by step. Have you cared to check the privacy settings on your account — who can see your updates, pictures and posts? The next time you have your page open, invest some time to look up these settings. Believe me, it pays if you allow controlled viewing, you may think random people looking at you is rather harmless, but no, it’s not. Think of it this way — would you let just anyone into your room? Isn’t your Facebook page like your virtual room — where you live, roam, talk and breathe 24X7? The biggest con of social media is identity theft and with too much information it gets easy for someone to masquerade as you, and to destroy your reputation financially and socially.

Then, don’t give out unnecessary details — why should you tell people about your neighbourhood or address or phone number? Those who should know it, know it anyway, and if you want to connect with an old friend, there’s always private messaging to exchange numbers. Also, be careful about the real friends among your ‘friends’. Don’t just go ahead and confirm requests from someone who is a friend of a friend of a friend — do you know him? How well? And do you feel like knowing more about him? If not, pass it. It’s alright. Your parents were right about not talking to strangers, there have been too many sad cases of young girls and boys getting hurt and conned by predators!

And then, of course, the two basics all of us must always remember — change your passwords regularly, keep them long and strong, and report anything that is even remotely shady, and block anyone who is giving you even the slightest grief or trouble. Nothing is worth your peace of mind and safety.

Lastly, don’t fall for shady links; scammers are known for tricking people on social media into downloading malicious software (malware). A common tactic is social engineering, for example they will send you a link saying it’s a funny video, and once you open the video it will say that you need to download software that plays the video. This link could actually be a virus or a Trojan horse program that can corrupt your computer.

Social media is definitely awesome and like I said before the pros completely outweigh the cons, and with a few good habits while surfing and socialising you can enjoy it without getting into trouble! Send me some more tips on how to be safe rather than sorry on social media! Take care guys!

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