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With discussion of doxxing and attacks against police officers and their family, it’s definitely worth asking how to be safe on social media.
Funny story: When my husband was in the police academy, one of his instructors came in one day and totally freaked out all the trainees by rattling off information he had gleaned from their social media profiles.
All trainees, that is, except my husband, who detests social media – and thus has no profiles.
After that moment, he was even more determined not to have any.
That being said, I still maintain social media profiles for a number of reasons. To be honest, most of those reasons have nothing to do with connection with friends and family – sorry! But I use groups a lot – especially for church and homeschool resources – and I obviously have social media profiles for my blog. That latter reason is the reason I couldn’t completely get rid of it.
Maybe you’re in the same boat. Maybe you truly do use it to connect with friends and family.
In any case, especially when police officers and their families are under attack as they are, it’s definitely worth being aware of how you can be safe on social media.
How To Be Safe On Social Media As A Police Wife
Be careful who you trust.
You don’t know who you’re actually talking to. I hate to say it, but you just don’t know.
Sure, you might be thinking catfishing is only a concern if you’re in the dating game, and since you’re married, you’re fine. In theory, sure – you’re maybe less vulnerable to catfishing, but it doesn’t mean you’re totally free and clear.
Some people have nothing better to do but impersonate someone else and use the information you give them to hurt you.
If something feels wrong, trust that feeling. You can ghost – I won’t blame you.
Not sure? Pray about what to do – it might seem like a silly thing God wouldn’t want to be involved in but remember, God is in the details. He cares about what you care about, and will keep you safe in every circumstance, even if the internet wasn’t around back in Abraham’s time.
Think before you post.
Especially when you’re feeling hurt or angry, take a step back. Put down your phone. Close the computer. Don’t vent your anger on the internet, where your anger can be saved, screencapped, and used against you for the rest of forever.
It’s just not worth it.
Especially when you consider that no matter how well thought out your post is, no matter what your intentions, you’re super unlikely to change that other person’s actions or behavior, you can take a minute and back up. You realize it just ain’t worth the trouble.
Conceal your real name.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice sometimes to be able to find people easily… but then again, it’s not always nice to be able to be found easily, is it?
I’ve purposely concealed my real name on social media because I don’t want people to be able to Google me as easily.
Is it impossible? Nah. But it sure helps.
Some methods to consider:
- Your first name and middle name.
- Your first name, split up (i.e. Ash Ley)
- Your first name and something nonsensical (i.e. Gina Flamingo)
This is totally up to you – whatever feels right for you. And then just let your friends know you’ve changed it and why – I’m sure they’ll understand!
Make posts viewable to “friends only”.
This is especially important if you post pictures of your kids – but especially with that, I would recommend proceeding with caution. People be creepy.
But as someone who lives a good distance from most of my family, I like sharing snippets of our lives as photos, too.
When you do, make sure you make those posts viewable to only your friends.
Is it foolproof? Nope. It’s not like putting your information in a high-security vault, more like locking the door on your house: if someone really wants to get in, they still can – but it’s better than nothing.
That’s why I would definitely recommend considering what you post, first and foremost. Nothing is 100% private on the internet.
On the topic of your social friends…
Don’t accept random friend requests.
Seriously, I get tons of random friend requests. Some are actually legit, since I’m in quite a few business groups, and they’re people who genuinely want to connect.
Sometimes I foolishly take a chance, then get a message saying, “You’re cute.” I can’t hit the block button fast enough. Bye Felicia.
Facebook gives you a nice option to look at a snapshot of the person’s history and friend’s list and what you have in common before you accept the friend request. Use it before allowing strangers to access your posts.
Another note: Sometimes you get a friend request from someone you’re already a friend with. DON’T ACCEPT. They probably didn’t make a new profile – it’s more than likely someone with nefarious motives.
Oh, and then let your friend know so they can let others know, too 🙂
Consider getting rid of it completely.
I know I said this might not be an option – but maybe it is.
Honestly, it can seem extreme in such a social media-oriented society, but it’s also something to consider. Especially if you don’t use stuff like Facebook Marketplace or anything like that, it might be something to consider.
Did you know you can still use Facebook Messenger, even if you disable your Facebook profile? It’s true!
Do you have any other tips for how stay safe on social media? Feel free to share them in the comments!