Published On: September 28, 2023

Orange bar with colorful circles and words Cyber Chat with Jane Harper Information and Security Risk Expert along with her photo
About Jane
Jane is an information and risk security expert as well as a member of our Easterseals Crossroads Board of Directors and a published author. Additionally, Jane serves on the board of the National Cyber Security Alliance, and she works actively with them to help everyone stay safe online. She is passionate about information security for all and she is excited to share some tips to help keep us safe online, compliments of NCSA. Every other month, Jane will share some key facts, stories and tips regarding online security.

Posts are Like Ghosts

Even though many of us have been on social media for a decade or more at this point (maybe even most of your life!), it bears repeating that you should think about everything you post, message or say online because it can live forever. Posts are like ghosts; you don’t want what you say to haunt you. This is true even for apps that automatically delete posts like Snap. Someone who sees it can screenshot or screen-record what you post.

Be Choosy about Friends and Followers

Remember that not everyone who requests to follow you has friendly intentions in mind. Depending on the information you have visible on your profile, someone who friends or follows you might know your contact info, general location, age and other data. This is why you want to think twice before accepting a request or invitation to connect from just anyone. Many social media networks have tools that allow you to manage the info you share with friends in different groups. If you’re trying to get your influencer hustle going, create an open profile or fan page that encourages broad participation but limits personal information. Use your personal profile to connect with your real friends – typically ones you know IRL.

Block the Bullies

While cyberbullying is often framed as an issue for children, anyone can be a victim. When it comes to the bullies of the 2020s, social media is now the unsupervised playground for us all. We recommend that you just block them – there’s no need to give them more of your time and energy. Every platform has simple ways you can block and report users engaged in bullying behavior. There’s no shame in having a strong blocking game!

Don’t Take the Bait

Phishing‚ is when cybercriminals use fake emails, social media posts, or DMs with the goal of luring you to click on a bad link or download a malicious file. If you click on a phishing link or file, you might hand over your data to hackers. A phishing scheme can also install malware onto your device. If you get suspicious, typo-ridden, or too good to be true messages from someone you don’t know on social media, assume its phishing – delete it! You can usually report such messages to the social media platform, too. You might get a message or post from someone you know that seems like phishing (“when did Bill get into selling designer sunglasses?”). Assume it is phishing and delete. Use another method to contact the sender and let them know about the weird message.

Remember, you aren’t alone online! You have the power to stop cybercriminals!