Social Networking Practical Tips

by techtiptom

Originally posted on WIBC.com on 11/10/2010:

The cardinal rule of social networking on the web bears repeating: Once you post personal information online, you can never take it back. With that in mind, here are twelve practical tips from onguardonline.gov and ConnectSafely.org:

Choose your screen name carefully, so you don’t give the wrong impression or invite unwanted attention.

Protect your personal information – never reveal your full name, street address, phone number, physical description or any financial information.

Conversely, limit the amount of information about family and friends you put out there.
Feds Indict Five in Johns Hopkins ID Theft
A 25-year-old employee at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore allegedly stole names, social security numbers and addresses from patients, giving the information to friends to buy more than $600,000 in merchandise, according to the Maryland U. S. Attorney’s Office.
The U. S. Attorney’s Office indictment said the employee stole the information between August 2007 and March 2009. The employee was employed in a position that had access to personal information.
The defendants, which include the employee and four other individuals ranging in age from 22 to 54 who received the information from the employee, face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud and two years in prison consecutive to any other sentence for aggravated identity theft.

Be sure you understand sites’ privacy policies and how they store and secure your information.

Use privacy settings to limit who can view your profile.

You never know the full audience of your postings – your language, pictures or videos could resurface in the future, so don’t post anything you might later regret.

Don’t take anything or anyone at face value – if it (he/she) seems too good to be true, it (he/she) probably is.

If you avoid risqué conversations online, you’ll be much less likely to come in contact with a predator.

Don’t engage in cyber bullying or the online rumor mill – things can spin out of control and your audience can just as easily turn on you.

Immediately report abusive, suspicious or inappropriate behavior (most sites include links for this purpose).

Never go alone to meetings with online acquaintances – meet in a public place, tell a parent or some other solid backup and bring friends along.

Many of these tips also apply to cell phones – don’t give out your number to just anyone, and be careful with technologies that can pinpoint your location.
Submitted by Valita Fredland, JD, MA, Associate General Counsel, Clarian Health
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