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Social Networking Safety

Over the last decade, advances in social networks have dramatically changed the landscape of communication. At the speed of tapping out a passing thought or snapping a photograph, users of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn can connect with individuals all over the world. But if you are not careful, these connections can access much more than pictures of your coffee cup or your child's cute bedtime quote. Use the tips below to enjoy social networking safely.

Experience Social Networking Safely

  • Create an intricate password with a creative combination of numbers, symbols, and capital and lower case letters. Make sure your password security question is unique to your experiences and tastes; for example, when answering the question, "What was your first dog's name?" choose "Sam the Beagle" over the ubiquitous "Sam."
  • Change your privacy settings to allow only your direct connections to see your pictures, personal information, and whereabouts. Never post your phone number or address.
  • Deny friend requests from people you do not know. Criminals will use attractive pictures or friendly messages to gain access to your information.
  • Always document and save any threatening messages. If you feel you or your child are being stalked, bullied, or exploited, contact law enforcement authorities immediately.

Avoid Social Networking Scams

  • Be wary of online requests for cash, even from friends and acquaintances. Call to verify; the person's account may have been infected by a scammers' malware.
  • Don't be fooled by messages claiming to have information about you or compromising pictures. These are phishing attempts that request your password and infect your computer with a virus in order to steal your personal information.
  • Watch where you click. Shortened URLs on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook hide the full website, thus luring some users to visit a site that infects their computers once opened. Make sure the sources of short URLs are accounts you actually follow, not unfamiliar spam.

Protect Children from Online Danger

  • Consider making your children wait to join social media sites until they are older. USA Today reports that the number of child predator attacks in 2010 (over 220,000) nearly doubled from the total in 2009.
  • Discuss the dangers of social media with teens and pre-teens. Make sure they know to watch out for predators and scammers and report suspicious messages to you.
  • Ask children to share any bullying they experience with you. Let them know they are not at fault, and help is available. Urge children never to write anything online they would not say in person; bullying can have more serious consequences than teens expect.
  • Monitor your child's online activity. If posts, friends and followers, or pictures seem suspicious, follow up with a serious conversation. Warn children that inflammatory posts they make now may later affect their ability to get accepted in colleges, obtain jobs, or join organizations.

About U.S. Security Associates

U.S. Security Associates (USA) is one of North America's largest security companies, with 160 locally-responsive offices providing premier national security services and global consulting and investigations to customers in a range of industries. Recognized for world class customer service, leading-edge technology, and an enterprise approach to risk management, USA offers optimized security solutions to meet specific customer needs. USA is committed to building quality security and risk management programs that are Safe. Secure. Friendly.® The Securing Knowledge series is part of the extensive and growing library of reference and training tools that contribute to USA's award-winning customer service and benchmark security programs. USA's investment in training and development resources is reflected not only by BEST Awards from the American Society for Training & Development, consistent ranking on the Training magazine Top 125, and technology-driven quality management system, but also by the company's leadership team, security officers, and service excellence on a daily basis.





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