How social media privacy settings can help keep you safe online

Though few of us would show our private photos to strangers or tell random people on the street what we’ve been up to or what our plans for the weekend are, too many of us ignore our social media privacy settings, leaving our profiles open to anyone with an internet connection.

However, by taking just a few minutes to change your social media privacy settings, you can prevent strangers from accessing your photos and finding out personal information about you and your friends.

What are social media privacy settings?

Social media privacy settings control who can and who cannot view your profile online.

download (11)Most networks let you adjust these settings, letting you choose whether your name, images and information are displayed only to your friends, to friends of friends or are made public and open to anyone on the web.

The majority of networks make profiles available to the public automatically as the network makes more money if advertisers and market researchers can find your information easily. It’s up to you to go into your account and change the settings manually.

Why are privacy settings important?

Without privacy settings, strangers can easily find your profile and contact you online. They can see your photos, find out where you go to school, learn who your friends are and even find out if you’re going through a tough time at home or have any other problems in your life.

It also means that other people can take photos off of your profile and use them however they want. Once they have your photos, they can use them on inappropriate websites, send them on to other people and potentially use them to force you into doing things you’re not comfortable with.

How social media settings could affect your future

Though you might think that no one will search for you on social media and that no one is interested in your photos or updates, more and more employers, colleges and universities are using social media checks when interviewing candidates for positions.

If your profile is open to the public, your potential new employer or college could use anything they find as a reason not to offer you the position.

Keeping your social media profile private is really important if you want to protect yourself and your friends from unwanted attention and from people using photos of you without your permission.

If you or one of your friends has already been contacted by someone you don’t know or you’re worried about the photos and information you’ve got online, get in touch with the Rose Project on 0808 800 1037 and find out more about how to stay safe and stay private online.