Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat are all forms of social media we use on a day to day basis in our lives.
It seems that these technologies have taken over our lives, the way we live, and how we live. According to statista.com, 78 percent of American citizens use some form of social media. But how well do we really know the lives we live through our screens? Staying safe online is one thing we can do to ensure that we live happy, stress-free lives – provided that we know how.
One way to guarantee your safety online is to enable the privacy features on whatever social media you may be using.
“I keep my accounts on private and don’t let anyone I don’t know follow me. And I don’t provide my phone number to people I don’t know or anywhere public,” Destineé Bradley, a junior at Eagle River High School, said.
Many people know the risks not being a private account poses, but they do it anyway for their own reasons.
“I don’t put my accounts on private at all because I like to meet people, and that way more people can follow me,” Steven Eggelston, an ERHS junior, said.
There are few things one can do to prevent your social media accounts from being targeted and compromised.
“Have a complicated password and change it often,” David Richards, an ERHS language arts teacher, said. “The number one rule of being hacked is: don’t make your password the word ‘password.’”
Being proactive in knowing who is “friending” or “following” your social media is another way to protect yourself.
“If you are a private account and you can’t determine if an account that’s trying to follow you is familiar, follow them first and when they accept, then determine if you know them,” Abbie Martinez, an ERHS junior, said. “That way, you can prevent random strangers from gaining access to your accounts on social media.”
If you do take these precautions, and you still get your account hacked or if you’re harassed by someone online, there are ways to stop it.
“I had my Instagram account hacked once and so I logged out and changed my password. The person that had hacked me was never able to figure out my new, more complicated one,” Caitlyn Van Meter, an ERHS junior, said.
Another thing to consider doing in the case that you get hacked or harassed online is to delete your account altogether and create a new one. That way, the person targeting you has lost all traces of you.
“Around 46 percent of social media users said that all of their profiles are set to private,” according to statistical information available online at aytm.com.
This means that 56% of all social media users are eligible to be victim to hacks, harassment, and cyberbullying.
“I keep my accounts private because one time this random person tried to message me on Instagram, and i just didn’t respond because I didn’t know them,” Jessie Scott, and ERHS senior, said.
According to pewinternet.org, 40 percent of users have been harassed using some type of social media.
“I don’t use social media that often because I don’t like how many random people tried to follow me and talk to me,” Eric Rueb, sophomore at Chugiak High School, said.
Because of the recent hacks and infiltrations into secure programs, parents have taken steps to ensure their children’s safety when they’re online.
“Younger social media users sometimes have parents that follow them to monitor what they’re doing.” Martinez said. “That way, if they’re doing something wrong or something seems suspicious, the parents know right away.”
Although there are risks, social media is one of the many ways we stay connected. If you ensure that you enable to proper privacy features, there should be no reason to worry about being targeted on social media.
Editor’s Note: Alina Cook is an editorial intern with The ECHO News. She is a student at Eagle River High School.