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The 5 DOs and DON’Ts of Social Websites
Use a social networking website.
Social networking websites are great tools for keeping in touch with friends and family from around the world, reconnecting to people you’ve lost touch with over the years, staying current with the latest events and functions, and even expressing your individuality and creativity, all with a few simple clicks of the mouse.
Only post pictures, songs and videos to your site if you have the right to do so. This will keep the social networking website from removing the copyrighted material and banning you from its site. Following this advice may also help you avoid legal trouble.
Ensure your computer’s security software is up-to-date.
With the increase in popularity of social networking websites, hackers and spammers have been targeting users more than ever. Spam messages now appear in postings, and your computer can become infected by simply visiting a page with an infected banner ad.
If your computer is lacking antivirus, antispam and firewall protection, consider downloading the Charter Security Suite™. It includes everything you need to help keep your computer secure and you can install it on multiple computers within your home. Best of all, the Charter Security Suite™ is easy to use and included with your Charter Internet™ Plus or Ultra service.†
Modify privacy settings to fit your needs.
Make sure you fully understand the tools that the social networking site provides to help you protect your privacy. Most social networking websites allow you to modify who is able to see your profile, pictures and comments. The safest policy is to limit access to your page to "friends". Respect the privacy of others as well, and always obtain the individual’s permission before posting pictures or information about that person on your profile.
Look at your online profile objectively.
Have a "bad guy" point-of-view. If someone wants to harm to you, what information could they obtain? Could someone figure out where you live or work? What could someone find out about your spouse or children? Could someone obtain your e-mail address, screen name or telephone number? Once you critically look at your profile, make the necessary changes to make it more secure.
Don’t forget to read the fine print.
It’s important to know how your personal information is handled, how to report abuse, and how to modify or remove your profile.
Don’t use a social networking website as a popularity contest.
Only accept invites to view your profile from people that you actually know. It’s unlikely you would put your personal information on a billboard for everyone to see, so why would you do the same on the Internet? A friend of a friend of a friend may not really be a friend after all.
Don’t accept applications or widgets from untrusted sources.
One of the easiest ways for a virus to spread is by sharing an infected file. It’s a bad idea to open e-mail attachments from untrusted sources, and the same rule applies when sharing applications through a social networking site.
Don’t post something online that you might regret later.
Employers and universities often review a potential candidate’s social networking website to get a sense about his/her personal life. They do this to ensure the candidate is a good fit for their organization. So think twice before posting that rant about your boss or uploading a silly video of yourself from a birthday party. Remember, once you post something on the Internet, it’s likely to remain there in some form for the rest of your life.
Don’t harass, stalk, or bully individuals.
This sounds like a no-brainier, but some individuals communicate with others online in a more reckless way than they would offline. It’s difficult to be completely anonymous online, and most social networking websites have strict rules against abusive behavior. In addition to being banned from using the site, you could potentially have criminal charges brought against you.
For more information on safely using the Internet, visit charter.com/security.
†Charter Security Suite is available at no additional cost for Charter Internet Plus and Ultra customers. Charter does not guarantee data will be secure.
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