I’m sure that almost all of you have visited a social networking site at least once and you are aware of the fact that despite of all the benefits it might bring you by helping you stay connected with your friends and family, there are still a few things you should not share on social networks. Research has shown that now days thirty-five percent of adults on the Internet have a profile on at least one social networking site, and 51 percent have more than one profile. Also, a study made by Pew Research Center found that “89 percent of these people use the sites to keep up with friends, 57 percent to make plans with friends and 49 percent to make new friends”. Yet, sometimes sharing private information with strangers can be quite dangerous. The study I mentioned before also found that “40 percent of users have open access to their profiles, allowing anyone to view their information and the other 60 percent restrict access to friends, family and colleagues”. So, here are the things you should not share on social networks if you want to keep your life private and also protect yourself and the ones you love.
1. Social Plans
In my opinion, your social plans are among the most important things you should not share on social networks. It’s not such a good idea to let everyone see what are you doing every day or night. It could also affect your security because anyone could find out when you’re not at home or when you are in vacation in some exotic place and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to find your house empty when you return.
2. Company Information
If you didn’t know already, company information must always be kept private. You wouldn’t want to endanger your job by letting everyone know about your company’s secret plans of expansion or about some project they’ve just won. Sophos, a famous security software company, found that “63 percent of companies were afraid of what their employees were choosing to share on social networking sites”. A lot of companies don’t want to be included in social networks, so you shouldn’t do that against their will.
3. Photos of Your Children
This may surprise you, but if you’re one of those people who don’t restrict access to their social network profile and also like to post a lot of pictures of their family, you should know that sadly, there are a lot of predators out there who often use social networking sites to stalk their prey. If you still don’t want to limit the access to your profile, make sure to send those photos only to your closest friends or family members, so you’ll ensure your children’s safety.
4. Financial Information
This is another very important thing you should never share on social networking sites. Nobody should know everything about your financial status by looking at the photos you’ve just posted on Facebook, Instagram or other social network. You could attract thieves and if you’ll also tell them when you will not be at home because you’re attending some fancy party or you’re going in some luxurious cruise, you will only make everything more easy for them.
5. Your Address and Phone Number
You should never, ever, under any circumstances, reveal information regarding your address or your phone number on any social network, because by doing it, you will instantly become extremely vulnerable to threats of identity theft or even to other personal dangers like burglaries. Identity thieves could even open up a credit card in your name and sometimes, by posting only your phone number, people with good Internet skills may find very easily your home address and turn it into a potential target for their next robbery. So, that’s why, it’s always best to just keep this information for yourself if you don’t want to restrict the access to your social media profiles.
6. Password Hints
You know that a lot of websites that contain secured personal info require a password in order to access your account. Usually, these websites will also ask for a hint in case you forget your password. Those hints are questions like: “What was the name of the street (town) where you grew up?” or “What was the name of your first pet?”. Maybe posting this kind of information on your Facebook wall will not seem such a big deal for you, but you wouldn’t want to just give out the information an identity thief may need in order to hack your bank account.
7. Anything else You Don’t Want to Share on Social Networks
A study made by the University of Virginia found that “of the top 150 applications on Facebook, 90 percent were given access to information they didn't need in order for the app to function”. You should think about that the next time you are trying to take a quiz or access some cute application on Facebook to find out which actress you resemble the most, because by accessing it, the creators of that poll will have access to all your private information. So, "When in doubt, leave it out."!
Did you ever give any personal information on social networking sites? Have you thought about the dangers you expose yourself by doing it? Can you think of other important things you should never share on social networks? Do tell!