Stay­ing safe and so­cial online

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By SARAH MOORE

This week is Con­nect Smart Week – a gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tive that pro­motes ways for in­di­vid­u­als, busi­nesses and schools to pro­tect them­selves online.

Ki­wis are a so­cial bunch. Four out of five of us regularly use the in­ter­net, with 78 per cent of us ac­cess­ing it in the last week*. Whether it’s Face­book, Twit­ter, Neigh­bourly or LinkedIn, so­cial media is in­creas­ingly be­com­ing part of the av­er­age Kiwi’s daily life; in Novem­ber 2013 alone 2.8 mil­lion of us ac­cessed a so­cial media web­site**.

But vir­tual plat­forms have be­come in­grained in our daily lives and it can be easy to for­get that so­cial media crosses over into re­al­ity. Some of us are more than happy to share in­ti­mate de­tails of our lives on so­cial media like baby photos, hol­i­day plans and boozy self­ies when we’re out on the town.

It’s im­por­tant to re­main safe on so­cial media and for­tu­nately it’s fairly easy. The fol­low­ing tips will help you make the most of your online ex­pe­ri­ence and en­sure you’re con­nect­ing smart.

Be care­ful what per­sonal in­for­ma­tion you share. Don’t ad­ver­tise the fact that you’re go­ing away for three weeks; if you want some­one to look af­ter your house while you’re away, send them a pri­vate mes­sage – and share your hol­i­day snaps when you get home.

If you live alone, think care­fully be­fore shar­ing this online. Never dis­close online bank­ing in­for­ma­tion ei­ther. Your bank­ing provider will never ask for your pass­word online so if any­one does, it’s a scam.

Change regularly.

The more you safe­guard your so­cial media and email ac­counts, the less likely they’ll be hacked.

Choos­ing a pass­word with a mix of al­pha­bet­i­cal (up­per and low­er­case), nu­mer­i­cal and sym­bol char­ac­ters is rec­om­mended; it might be an­noy­ing to use, but it’ll be far more dif­fi­cult to crack.

Avoid pass­words that ref­er­ence your birth­day, and don’t


pass­words use the same pass­word for ev­ery­thing.

Be­come fa­mil­iar with so­cial media pri­vacy set­tings. Some so­cial media plat­forms fre­quently change their pri­vacy set­tings and sim­ply hav­ing an ac­count with them means you agree to them. Al­ways make sure you know what those changes mean for your pri­vacy. If you have an is­sue con­tact the so­cial media plat­form di­rectly or, if you don’t agree with them, it may be best to close down your ac­count al­to­gether.

Re­mem­ber that your dig­i­tal foot­print is hard to delete. It’s re­ally hard to get rid of your online history, which means those drunken photos on Face­book could come back to bite you in the bum fur­ther down the track.

Choose what you post online care­fully, and con­sider what oth­ers post about you too. Some par­ents are even choos­ing not to post photos of their new­born ba­bies online to pro­tect their safety when they get older.

Do to oth­ers as you’d have them do to you. Treat ev­ery­one with the same re­spect you hope to re­ceive. If you wouldn’t say some­thing in per­son, don’t post it online.

Most so­cial media sites have a way to block or mute a mem­ber to stop their com­ments ap­pear­ing on your news­feed.

If you ever feel ha­rassed, threat­ened or un­com­fort­able do con­tact so­cial media ad­min­is­tra­tors di­rectly and ex­press your con­cerns. *Aged over 15 years **comS­core Jan 2014

The more you safe­guard your so­cial media and email ac­counts, the less likely they’ll be hacked.

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