It’s not often that you see advice on Internet privacy sandwiched between articles on “4 Times it Pays to Splurge” and how to “Be a Full-time Mom with a Part-time Passion.” But online privacy is such a hot topic that even Redbook, the women’s magazine, has a story in its August issue. The article is an informed, well-balanced look at providing practical tips (well it should be, I was interviewed for it!) on being secure and private when on various Internet sites:
If you’re a LIVE-LIFE-OUT-LOUD GIRL (i.e., you offer a play-by-play of your life to your 1,000 Facebook friends, blog readers, and Twitter followers), these are the guidelines you — and everyone — should follow:
- On your social networking profiles, take the time to check out the privacy settings and decide whom you want to have access to what information. The risks here aren’t great, but do you really want your cousins to read about your sex life, or your frenemy to see photos of the party you didn’t invite her to?
- If you’re on a public wireless network, like at Starbucks, don’t do your online banking or log on to other sites that contain sensitive information about you. Other users accessing the network might be able to access it.
- Teach your kids about the risks of sharing personal information on the Web. If it feels appropriate for your child, bring up the countless cases of tweens’ and teens’ personal photos and videos that have ended up in the wrong inboxes because of how easy it is to forward email. Have a conversation about what sites they’re visiting online, and make sure they’re staying safe by signing up for a free limiting service such as AOL Parental Controls, which allows you to log in and monitor their activity. Check with your wireless carrier for similar services on your kids’ phones, too.