Donít think this can happen to you. Then you should know that according to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 6 women will be stalked in her lifetime.The best way to protect yourself is to not make yourself vulnerable in the first place. Whenever you engage in social media, remember this: what happens on the internet stays on the internet, and itís up to you to make sure what appears in connection with your name and image does not have the potential to harm you now or in the future.

1.How Old Are You Now:
If you must share your birthday, never put down the year in which you were born. Using the month and day are acceptable, but adding the year provides an opportunity for identity theft.

2.X Marks the Spot:
Be cautious about using geo-location services, apps, Foursquare, or any method which shares where youíre at.One evening, while dining at a restaurant she had ďchecked inĒ at using Foursquare, Bugbee was told by the hostess that there was a call for her on the restaurantís phone line. When she picked up, an anonymous man warned her about using Foursquare because she could be found by certain people; and when she tried to laugh it off, he began verbally abusing her. Stories like this may be why far fewer women use geo-location services as compared to men; many are afraid of making themselves more vulnerable to cyberstalking.

3.No Such Thing as Private:
The internet is like an elephant it never forgets. While spoken words leave little trace and are quickly forgotten, written words endure in the online environment. Whatever you post, tweet, update, share even if itís deleted immediately afterwards has the potential to be captured by someone, somewhere, without your knowledge. This is especially true of social networking sites including private messages shared between two people and postings to a private group. There is no such thing as private in the world of social media because anything you put up can potentially be grabbed, copied, saved on someone elseís computer and mirrored on other sites not to mention hacked by thieves or subpoenaed by law enforcement agencies.

4.Separate Work and Family:
Keep your family safe, especially if you have a high profile position or work in a field that may expose you to high-risk individuals. Some women have more than one social networking account: one for their professional/public lives and one thatís restricted to personal concerns and only involves family and close friends. If this applies to you, make it clear to family/friends to post only to your personal account, not your professional page; and donít let the names of spouses, children, relatives, parents, siblings appear there to protect their privacy. Donít let yourself be tagged in events, activities or photos that may reveal personal details about your life.If they show up, delete them first and explain later to the tagger; better safe than sorry.

5.Review Before Posting:
Make sure your privacy settings enable you to review content in which youíve been tagged by friends before they appear publicly on your page. This should include posts, notes, and photos. It may seem tedious, but itís much easier to deal with a small amount each day than to have to go back through weeks, months and even years to ensure that any and all content related to you puts forth an image youíre comfortable living with.

6.A Little Bird Told Me:
Twitter processes more than 50 million tweets every day, with the total numbering in the billions. And experts predict the information will be searched and used in ways we canít even imagine.

7.How Do I Know You:
Never accept a friend request from someone you donít know. This may seem like a no-brainer, but even when someone appears as a mutual friend of a friend or several friends, think twice about accepting unless you can concretely identify who they are and how theyíre connected to you. In many professional circles involving large organizations, all an outsider has to do is obtain one friend on the inside and it snowballs from there, with others thinking that a total stranger with no personal connection is an unfamiliar co-worker or occasional business associate.

8.Itís Your Fault If Itís Default:
Keep track of your privacy settings and check them on a regular basis or at least monthly. Do not assume that the default setting will keep you safe. Many social networking sites frequently update and change settings, and often the defaults tend to make public more information than you may be willing to share. If an upcoming update is advertised in advance, be proactive , investigate it before it launches; it may offer a window during which you can privately edit or remove content before it goes live. If you wait until your account automatically switches over, your information may go public before you have a chance to deal with it.

9.Itís A Family Affair:
Make it clear to family members that the best way of communicating with you is through private messaging or email not posting on your page. Often, relatives who are new to social media donít understand the difference between public and private conversations and how they take place online. Donít hesitate to delete something that too personal for fear of hurting Grandmaís feelings just make sure you message her privately to explain your actions, or better yet, call her on the phone.

10.You Play,You Pay in Loss of Privacy:
Online games, quizzes, and other entertainment apps are fun, but they often
pull information from your page and post it without your knowledge. Make sure that you know the guidelines of any app, game or service and do not allow it unfettered access to your information. Do enough of these over time and someone who is determined to learn all about you can read the answers, cross-reference information obtained through your friendsí pages, and glean a surprising amount from these seemingly casual revelations.
Social media is fun thatís why half the U.S. adult population participates in online social networking sites. But donít be lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to protecting your personal information. The goal of social networking sites is to generate revenue and even though the service is free.

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