In this lesson you will learn about how to use social networks safely. You will also learn ways you can protect yourself from getting into trouble when you and or your friends post information that could follow you for years to come and even cause you to have trouble getting a job, an internship, a scholarship, an award, or a college letter of acceptance.
Watch these entertaining videos before you do the activities below.
Video 1 - Dos and Don'ts of Social Networking
Video 2 - Safe Web Surfing: Top Tips For Kids and Teens Online
Activity 1 -
Just like there are things you should know about chat rooms, there are things you should know about using social networks. A social network is defined as:
1. a network of social interactions and personal relationships.
2. a dedicated website or other application that enables users to communicate with each other by posting information, comments, messages, images, etc.
You will will use social networks in school as a student and later as an adult. Social networks have some excellent uses but they are also not free of problems for people who do not use them carefully. Below is a table of information showing uses of social networks in one column and potential problems in another column. Take a look at the information to see how much you already know. Copy and paste the table below into a Text Entry wiki. Highlight what you already know in yellow. Highlight what you didn't know in blue.
|Benefits of Social Networks
||Potential Problems with Social Networks
|Social networks provide people with an easy and fun way to stay in touch with friends and family.
||Social networks make it easy for people who are not friends or family to access your most personal information.
|Social networks are useful for making connections with people you want to meet or need to get to know (for school or work)
||Social networks allow users to create permissions but these permissions are hard for people to use, understand, and control.
|Social networks are good places to share pictures, files, and events.
||Social networks don't allow users to separate their personal lives from their school or work lives. This means that what you do on your personal time might be shared with people at school or work.
|Social networks allow users to share likes and favorites. This means your friends can tell you what's new in fashion, food, entertainment, arts, etc.
||Social networks track your likes and dislikes to get a better understanding of how you spend your time, what you like to do, how you spend money, and where you travel. This allows them to market directly to you based on your preferences.
|Social networks make it easy to connect with friends and they are free. No cell phone minutes or texting plans to worry about - just meet and talk via the social network.
||Social networks are not good at protecting privacy for individuals who use them. Any information the social networking site has about you belongs to them forever and ever. That's a long time.
|Social networks allow you to find people and events that match your interests. If you like adventure movies, you can find who groups of people who love the same adventure movies you love. This makes it easy to make new friends.
||Social networks can cause people to feel more lonely or isolated. Especially if they have a hard time making friends in real life. This makes people (especially teens) more vulnerable to meeting up with the wrong kind of people who might be pretending to be someone they are not.
|Social networks seem very safe and secure.
Social networks are not safe and secure.
|Social networks allow us to share information very fast which can be a lot of fun because people want to share their experiences as they are happening.
||Social networks have no filters. This means that information we share right away cannot be taken back or undone. Even if we take down a post that we put up - it is being seen by lots of people instantly. They can copy and paste what you have posted before you have a chance to remove it. This can cause all kinds of problems and create emotional distress.
|Social networks work with any device connected to the Internet so they are easy to access and use.
||Ease of use makes it hard to remember to think before posting.
Social networking websites like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and Windows Live Spaces are services people can use to connect with others to share information like photos, videos, and personal messages. As the popularity of these social sites grows, so do the risks of using them. Hackers, spammers, virus writers, identity thieves, and other criminals follow the traffic.
Activity 2 -
Read these tips to help protect yourself when you use social networks.
When you have finished reading the tips, make a 30 second commercial about any one of the tips below (or something else you have learned about using social networks). Post your commercial as a media recording or file upload.
Use caution when you click links that you receive in messages from your friends on your social website. Treat links in messages on these sites as you would links in email messages. (For more information, see Approach links in email with caution and Click Fraud: Cybercriminals want you to 'like' it.)
Know what you've posted about yourself. A common way that hackers break into financial or other accounts is by clicking the "Forgot your password?" link on the account login page. To break into your account, they search for the answers to your security questions, such as your birthday, home town, high school class, or mother's middle name. If the site allows, make up your own password questions, and don't draw them from material anyone could find with a quick search. For more information, see:
Don't trust that a message is really from who it says it's from. Hackers can break into accounts and send messages that look like they're from your friends, but aren't. If you suspect that a message is fraudulent, use an alternate method to contact your friend to find out. This includes invitations to join new social networks. For more information, see Scammers exploit Facebook friendships.
To avoid giving away email addresses of your friends, do not allow social networking services to scan your email address book. When you join a new social network, you might receive an offer to enter your email address and password to find out if your contacts are on the network. The site might use this information to send email messages to everyone in your contact list or even everyone you've ever sent an email message to with that email address. Social networking sites should explain that they're going to do this, but some do not.
Type the address of your social networking site directly into your browser or use your personal bookmarks. If you click a link to your site through email or another website, you might be entering your account name and password into a fake site where your personal information could be stolen. For more tips about how to avoid phishing scams, see Email and web scams: How to help protect yourself.
Be selective about who you accept as a friend on a social network. Identity thieves might create fake profiles in order to get information from you.
Assume that everything you put on a social networking site is permanent. Even if you can delete your account, anyone on the Internet can easily print photos or text or save images and videos to a computer.
Be careful about installing extras on your site. Many social networking sites allow you to download third-party applications that let you do more with your personal page. Criminals sometimes use these applications to steal your personal information. To download and use third-party applications safely, take the same safety precautions that you take with any other program or file you download from the web.