- Internet & the Web
4 Dangers of Social Networking Websites
Social Networking sites, such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter, have created an easier way to keep updated on everything friends and family are doing, not just close by but those that are all over the world. They are also perfect for businesses to market and increase their reach.
With so many people now using them, it has opened them to many dangers, especially for children. The sites attempt to stop children from using them but that doesn't quite work. By knowing the dangers, you will be able to take steps to protect yourself and your family.
PleaseRobMe Website Created
On 18th February 2010, BBC News reported of a website that had been created called PleaseRobMe, which claimed to reveal empty homes based on what had been written on social networking sites. This site had not been created by the users to encourage robbers but to make a point about the dangers that sites such as Twitter could create.
People share a lot of information through their accounts, including addresses, phone numbers, even their full date of births and all can be used not just for robbers but also for fraudsters. Full date of births are usually used as security questions for online/telephone banking or other accounts, if the fraudsters have these details, they can do a lot of damage to the person they are pretending to be.
Dangers to Children Through Social Networking
Most social networking sites will not allow anybody under the age of 13 to create accounts, however it is very easy for a child to fake their age. Any child should have their internet usage monitored, to make sure that they do not include their home address or school on their profiles.
One of the biggest dangers of Social Networking is that you have no idea whether you really are talking to the person they say they are. Anybody can post any photo and information on their profile and that is a danger to anybody but more importantly to the young teenagers that use these sites. If a child can fake their age to create a profile, predators can fake their age and interests to befriend that child.
Protect Yourself with Internet Security
Profiles are hacked all the time, however the easiest way for someone to hack into your account is through Phishing Scams. The hacker will create a page that looks exactly like a social networking site and send the link to an email account stating that there has been a problem and request the social network site log in. However, the link will actually send all the log in details to the hacker.
These hackers can do a lot of damage through fraud since they can access personal details that will be needed for internet/telephone banking. They can also send spam emails or viruses to friends which can cause irreparable damage to online reputation.
One of the worries for those uploading music to sites such as MySpace or photos to Facebook is who now holds the copyright? How can somebody protect themselves from their photos or music being copied from the site.
There is no way of protecting yourself from this which can be a worry for those starting out in photography or music. A way to protect art is by using watermarks on all pieces, or to only upload the first minute of a each track you want to share.
While social networking sites can be used as a way to stay in contact with friends and family all over the world or as a way to promote your music, there are also a lot of dangers to it. Just a few years ago, it was a danger to share your full name over the Internet, yet now people are happy to share more and more details thinking that it is safer.
Something that everyone has to remember is that while social networks grow, sharing more information can become more dangerous. Think twice about what can or cannot be shared on social networking sites.