By Abbie Cornett
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Tumbler. It doesn’t matter which one you use or if you use them all. They all have one thing in common: They are the way many people communicate today. Social media sites help people stay connected with the world, make new friends and keep in touch with old friends without ever having to leave the house. And, while this ability to stay connected has changed all of our lives, it is particularly important for people with chronic illness who are frequently unable to work or attend social events as often as they would like, leaving them feeling isolated. For them, social media sites are a great way to stay connected with their old lives, participate in support groups and make new friends.
But, while staying connected is important, so is safety. Therefore, it’s important to remember the following tips when staying connected:
1. Think before you post!
Remember that what your friends might appreciate can be used against you later.
2. Remember that the world is watching!
The Internet gives many people a false sense of anonymity. Don’t post anything that you don’t want the world to see.
3. Understand your privacy settings!
When you set up your accounts, select the most secure settings. You want to make sure that only the people you want to see your profile can see it! Review your settings frequently for changes that may have occurred.
4. Be aware of strangers!
While the Internet is a great way to connect with people, be sure to check out anyone you don’t know who has sent you a friend request. Not everyone is your friend!
5. Don’t say where you live!
Never post your address; you don’t want unexpected guests showing up at your door.
6. Choose passwords carefully!
Don’t pick passwords that can be figured out from your posts. For instance, if you post pictures of your pets, don’t use their names as your password!
7. Never message personal information!
Most platforms are susceptible to hacking. Never send confidential information via instant messages.