The digital world mirrors the real world in some aspects, in particular for women. Just like the real world, the rate of crime against women is increasing on the internet. Moreover, the situation seems to be getting worse with every passing day. This is why staying safe online, especially on social media, is paramount for the well-being of your digital presence.

A disturbing trend becomes clearly visible when we glance at the recent past. Passwords getting hacked, private images being leaked online, sensitive data compromised, data being held captive for ransom, etc.

Digital Trust Dialogues by SheThePeople and GoogleAll these incidents made headlines worldwide. But this shouldn’t deter women from updating their status on Facebook, shopping online for a new dress, or sharing/capturing private moments. Therefore, on this Women’s Day, I have put together a list of some surefire online safety tips for women that can help them stay safe and maintain control over their information.

Social Networks

Although cyberstalking preceded the advent of social networking, social media has made it that much easier. A stalker can easily locate and track their target’s every move. Personal tidbits collected over time can give them a whole picture of who you are, where you work, live and socialize.

The following online safety tips can help you manage your information floating on social networking:

  1. Check the privacy settings of your profile and make sure it’s set to the right level. Even if your social network is set to private, it doesn’t guarantee that your information is completely private.
  2. Remember that the friends of your friends might be able to see your posts and updates even if you are not friends with them.
  3. Pay attention to your friend list when you post or link yourself to certain things. There might be people there who don’t have your best interests at heart.
  4. Thoroughly check the social network’s privacy policy to find out exactly who has access to your information, such as advertisers, third parties etc.
  5. Always remember that once the internet gets hold of your information, you have no control over it. Anything you put up can be grabbed, copied and saved on someone else’s computer and mirrored on other sites – not to mention hacked by thieves or subpoenaed by law enforcement agencies.

Aman Pathak is a student of Satyawati College, New Delhi and this effort is a part of Google India and SheThePeople initiative Digital Trust Dialogues across colleges in India.

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