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The advent of new technologies and the internet has led to the widespread use of social media platforms for communication. These platforms can be conveniently accessed either through our computers or mobile devices.
In contrast to the past days when communication necessitated a physical meeting or a telephone conversation. With the internet, all you need is access to the global network and a device that enables you to access any website or chat application.
The ease of communication via the internet has been immensely beneficial, particularly for those whose loved ones are miles away, as well as for business and corporate communication.
However, there are those who exploit the anonymity provided by the internet to harass others. Bullying on social media platforms has become increasingly prevalent for two main reasons:
- We share our personal lives on the public “walls” of these platforms.
- We accept “friend” requests from individuals we do not know, many of whom have “fake profiles”.
Be Conscious of Your Online Privacy: A Guide to Safe Social Media Usage
Sharing our personal lives on social media can often feel harmless and enjoyable. But beware, we might be unknowingly revealing sensitive information about ourselves that could potentially aid an online harasser. By broadcasting our interests, hobbies, dreams, and desires, we unknowingly give these harassers an edge, facilitating their attempts to disturb us online.
It’s important to remember that, while the internet may provide a cloak of anonymity making it difficult to identify these harassers, there are available resources to help.
A proficient private detective, equipped with knowledge in computer forensics and expertise in digital investigations, can utilise open-source tools and various other techniques to locate and unmask the harasser. They can also validate the authenticity of digital evidence found on any social media platform through an expert report.
Five Tips to Avoid Harassment on Social Networks
Protecting oneself from harassment on social networks can be as simple as applying logic and common sense. However, we often overlook our intuition, so here are five practical tips for enhancing your online safety and preventing harassment on social networks.
- Limit What You Share: Be mindful of what you post on your social network ‘wall’. Details about your whereabouts, companions, likes, dislikes, and routines can be valuable information for potential harassers.
- Be Selective with Friend Invitations: Avoid accepting friend requests from strangers. Harassers often create fake profiles and craft a life story that aligns with your interests to gain your trust. If you’re uncertain about someone’s identity, it’s preferable not to accept their friend request.
- Avoid Sharing Explicit Content: Refrain from sending explicit photos or videos, a practice known as ‘sexting’. This can protect you from ‘sextortion’, a form of blackmail involving such content.
- Activate Privacy Settings: Ensure your privacy settings allow only your friends to send you messages, find you, and most importantly, contact you.
- Change Passwords Regularly: A simple yet effective strategy is to periodically change your passwords. This prevents unauthorised access to your social media profiles.
By adopting these measures, you can enhance your online safety and protect yourself from potential harassment.