It is estimated that each day, a fairly large number of individuals make the decision to join a social networking website.  Social networking websites are websites that allow internet users to easily connect with other internet users, often from all around the world. While social networking websites are a great way to make online friends or start an online relationship, there are many internet users who are misinformed when it comes to social networking websites. That misinformation is largely centered on who can see their personal information.

Protect Social Media Profile Details

Users outside the community can view your details

Since a social networking website is often compared to a community, you would assume that only other community members would be able to read your personal information, right?  In the real world, an unknown individual cannot just decide that they want to move into your neighborhood and live in your front yard, spying on your every move, so why should it happen online?  If that is your way of thinking, you are wrong, in most cases.  Unfortunately, many internet users are largely unaware of the fact that just about anyone can view their social networking profiles, including non-community members.  

You should examine personal page before publishing

As previously mentioned, there are a large number of social networking websites that allow anyone one with internet access to view the profiles or profile pages of their members. In fact, the number is higher than you may have ever imagined. At the current time, just a few popular of the social networking websites that allow any internet user to view your profile include Yahoo! 360, Facebook, and MySpace.  With a simple click of the mouse, information that you thought was private is no longer.  That is why it is important that you examine what is actually posted in your profile or on your personal profile page before publishing it.

Although being cautious may take away from the fun of joining a social networking program, you are advised to be cautious.  This cautiousness may help keep you safe. When building your social networking profile or profile page, especially on a website that anyone can view, you are advised to carefully select the pictures that you post. If you post a personal picture of your self, you are advised against posting your full name and, especially, your address. With a picture, your full name, and your address, an internet user with devious thoughts could spell trouble.

Use private profile settings for restrict access

If you are one of the many social network users who wants to display your information, you are encouraged to learn more about private profile settings.  Private profile settings will limit the number of individuals who can view your website. Although your profile’s private setting may prevent other network members from seeing your profile, it will also prevent anyone else from seeing it. The only catch with doing this is that since other community members cannot see your profile, you will have to be the one to contact with any new friends that you would like to invite to your network.

How to be safe while using social media sites?

One of the many ways that you can protect yourself, when it comes to using online social networking websites, is by watching what you post online, particularly in your profile. You may not know this, but a large number of networking sites, including MySpace, FriendFinder, Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, and Yahoo! 360 allow all internet users to see your profile or profile page. These internet users do not necessarily have to be a member of your online community. This means that although your networking community may be safe, there are still unsavory individuals out there who could easily obtain your personal information.

In addition to the information that you make available to other internet users, including member profiles, you are advised to be cautious when making contact with other internet users, especially those that contact you.  A large number of social networking websites have open memberships. Essentially, this means that anyone can easily join and become a member.  Just because someone says they are who they are doesn’t necessarily mean that they are telling the truth. If at any point during your conversations you feel that you are speaking with someone who is making you feel comfortable or not telling the truth, you are advised to end your conversation.

For many individuals it is enough to chat with others online, but for some it is not enough. Whether you are asked to meet with an online friend or if you initiated the meeting yourself, you are advised to be cautious.  You will not want to meet with an individual who you have only known online for a short period of time.  For safety reasons, it is advised that you speak with one of your online friends at least a month before agreeing to meet with them. If and when that meeting does take place, you are urged to have it in a public place.  That way if your meeting does not go as well as you had originally planned, you will be able to ensure your safety by having others around you.

Conclusion: Join the website where you can control your profile access

In addition to joining a social networking website that allows you to set your profile as private, you can join a network that automatically has profiles set as private. These social networking websites include, but are not limited to, Google+, Linkedin, and Facebook.  With Google+ and Facebook, your profile will only be seen by other members. In fact, Facebook also limits the members that can see your profile. This is done to help ensure your safety online. However, as with all other social networking websites, it is fairly easy for you to make online connections and friends, but, in away, these private profile networking sites are a safer way to make those connections.

Now that you know exactly how social networking websites work and who can gain access to your personal information, you should know what you should and should not put in your profile or on your profile page.  Although you are not required to change your information, you should at least think about it. As the old saying goes, you never know who is watching you.