In recent years, social media has surged in popularity. Every day more and more people sign up for these sites to interact with others who they have things in common with.
We’ve all heard the horror stories of teenagers being too open on social media and becoming the target of predators. In fact, most of the focus regarding safety on social media is directed at teens. While it’s true that it’s critical that teens are careful online- it’s also important for adults. If you are an adult that enjoys social media- including dating websites, it’s important that you exercise caution when interacting with others online.
Social media is a great place to meet others who share your interests, views, beliefs, and more. However, it can also be dangerous as well. Simply watch the news and you’ll see reports where people were harmed or even killed after meeting someone face-to-face that they met online. If you’re not careful, you could become one of the statistics. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should shut down all of your social media and live in fear- it just means that you need to exercise caution about what you share.
In this article, we’ll provide you with a few tips to keep yourself safe on social media.
Tips to Stay Safe
Watch What You Share
One way to protect yourself is to watch what you share- especially any personal info on your profile. You may not realize this, but many of the social media sites actually allow all users to see your profile and some even allow them to visit your profile page, even if it’s set to private. Therefore, even if the communities that you are a part of on these sites are safe, that doesn’t mean that there are not some dangerous individuals lurking around the outside that could be accessing your information.
Be Careful Who You Connect With
In addition to watching what you share with other social media users, including your profile, it’s important that you are careful who you connect with. This especially goes for those who contact you unsolicited. Most of the social media websites don’t have limitations on who can join them- so anyone can become a member. Also, it’s easy to pretend to be someone you’re not online- so anyone can claim whatever they want, whether it’s true or not. If you are ever interacting with someone that makes you feel uncomfortable or who you feel like isn’t telling the truth about who or what they are, it’s best to just end the interaction and block them, if possible. Some sites even allow you to report them if you feel like they are dangerous.
Be Careful with Face-to-Face Meetings
For many people, interacting with others online is enough. However, there are some that want to meet face-to-face. If you are asked to meet with someone or you initiate a meeting, it’s important that you are careful. It’s not always a good idea to meet with someone you have only interacted with for a short time. Ideally, you should interact with them for at least one month before meeting them face-to-face. Sometimes, this isn’t possible because you’re selling or buying something you found online. In this case, your local police department should have an area set up for e-commerce transactions such as this.
When you do decide to meet with someone you’ve been interacting with online, make sure to choose a public place. This way, if the meeting doesn’t go as expected, you can feel safe because there are others around.
Personally, when I was dating, I would have the men that I met online to come to meet me for the first time at my place of work. This way, if they were not who they claimed to be, my manager could step in and have them leave.
These are just a few of the precautions you should take when interacting with others online. You may be worried that stopping an interaction or refusing to meet someone face-to-face might hurt their feelings or cause you to lose an online connection- but your safety should always be your number one priority.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Krista Mounsey