With each new technological advancement comes new threats to both our rights and our identities.
Potential privacy concerns are one of the biggest risks we take when using social media and the internet.
But with our society’s reliance on technology for both work and play, it’s simply unavoidable.
Here are some simple ways you can protect yourself online without going off the grid.
Don’t Share Personal Information
Unfortunately, if you’ve ever created a social media account, your name and birthday are already out there on the internet.
While these are essentially public information anyways, there’s much more information you do not want to share on the internet, period.
Your address, phone number, children’s names, the neighborhood where you live, your children’s school, and other information may seem harmless to enter online or share on social media, but just one bit of personal information can leave you susceptible to identity thieves and predators.
Thankfully, there are measures you can take should you need to share personal information.
If you’re ordering something online, stick to a site that’s a corporate entity and not an individual retailer. Target and Walmart’s online stores are always safer options than buying something from an individual on eBay or Etsy.
Do not save your credit card information or address on your computer either. We know it’s convenient, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe.
And if you are sharing cute pictures of your children on your social media pages, don’t tag or say what school they go to or the neighborhood you live in.
It’s a sad fact, but you never know who is looking.
Don’t Share Your Location On Any App or Social Media Site
This includes live streaming on Facebook, sharing stories on Instagram or Snapchat, and even the supposedly-secure Find My Friends app.
It doesn’t take a master hacker to see your location on Snapchat or Find my Friends, and the fewer people who can track your day to day routine, the better.
And who even wants their family members to know where they are every second of the day, anyway?
Set Your Google Data to Self-Destruct
Google has given us the ability to better protect ourselves on their search engines after years of keeping our internet searches and records stored by default.
The company reportedly used our search information to compile user-profiles in order to optimize our search results.
To prevent this, head to your Google user profile settings here: myactivity.google.com.
Once you get into the tool, click on Activity Controls and head to web and app activity. Click “Manage Activity,” and then click the activity button under the calendar icon. Here, you can view and delete all of your past searches.
Another option to avoid this problem altogether is to use a private or “incognito” browser, which will not record your history.
Remember, Nothing is Ever Private on the Internet
As a general rule of thumb, just remember that nothing you post or submit on the internet is ever truly private.
Although there are many precautions you can take to avoid privacy violations, the information you share on social media and your search history is ultimately regulated by Big Tech conglomerates — and we have seen just how sinister those companies can be at times.
What are some of your top internet safety tips? Please share them in the comments section below.