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What And How to Be Safe on Social Networking Sites?

A social networking service is a platform to build social networks or social relations among people who, for example, share interests, activities, backgrounds, or real-life connections. A social network service consists of a representation of each user (often a profile), his/her social links, and a variety of additional services. Most social network services are web-based and provide means for users to interact over the Internet, such as e-mail and instant messaging. Online community services are sometimes considered as a social network service, though in a broader sense, social network service usually means an individual-centered service whereas online community services are group-centered. Social networking sites allow users to share ideas, pictures, posts, activities, events, and interests with people in their network.

A social network is a social structure made up of a set of social actors (such as individuals or organizations) and a complex set of the dyadic ties between these actors. The social network perspective provides a clear way of analyzing the structure of whole social entities.[1] The study of these structures uses social network analysis to identify local and global patterns, locate influential entities, and examine network dynamics.

Social networking is the grouping of individuals into specific groups, like small rural communities or a neighborhood subdivision, if you will.  Although social networking is possible in person, especially in the workplace, universities, and high schools, it is most popular online.

Family and FriendsThis is because unlike most high schools, colleges, or workplaces, the internet is filled with millions of individuals who are looking to meet other people, to gather and share first-hand information and experiences about cooking, golfing, gardening, developing friendships professional alliances, finding employment, business-to-business marketing and even groups sharing information about baking cookies to the Thrive Movement.  The topics and interests are as varied and rich as the story of our universe.

One of the best new developments on the web has been that of social networks. A social network is a website that allows you to connect with friends and family, share photos, videos, music and other personal information with either a select group of friends or a wider group of people, depending on the settings your select. Social networks like Facebook, Myspace and LinkedIn are great ways of keeping in touch with friends and family around the world as well as making new connections with people based on similar interests or professions. There are tons of defferent social networks that you can join – all for free.

people use social networking sites?

 Using a social networking site brings like minded people together for chat, conversation, exchanging ideas, and even meeting in real life. Social networking has become an extension of "sitting around the camp fire" and discussing life events. For example, a social networking site for gay and bisexual men is www.ManTurf.com which is used to bring like minded men together to discuss issues that relate to gay and bisexual men.

a. Social Networking enables you to reach out to OLD friends and classamtes, relatives who migarted to other countries, and even connect to people with the same profession as yours for collaboration and discussion of ideas.

b. makes you part of a worldwide community who come to explore technology to tehir advantage, whether for personal or business piurpose

How do I create a safe profile?
When you're online, you won't always know who you're chatting to. Most social networking sites allow you to change the security settings on your profile, so it can only seen by people that you allow to see it. They also allow you to choose who you are friends with. Here are some tips to help you stay safe:

- Never tell anyone any personal things about yourself or your family.

- Never give out your address or phone number.

- Instead of posting a photo of you, you could use a picture you like or a photo of your favourite band instead.

- Don't post any photos or videos that you wouldn't be happy for your parents or teacher to see. Once they are up online they can be copied and posted in other places where you can't get rid of them.

- Keep your passwords private and don't tell anyone, not even your best friend.

Once you have registered and set up your profile you can start adding your friends and sending them messages. As long as you are careful online, you can have a lot of fun with your mates.

- Don't add anyone you don’t know to your friend list, even if they say they know you. If you don't know them, don't add them.

- People can create really great fake profiles, so be aware that even if someone says they are your age and into the same things as you, they might not be telling the truth.

- If someone contacts you or one of your friends with weird or nasty messages, don't reply to them and save the messages. Tell someone you trust such as a parent as soon as possible and show them what you have been sent.

- If you are writing a blog, be careful what you write in it. Don't give away too many details about yourself.

- Don’t arrange to meet someone that you have met online. Some people may not be who they say they are.

- If you are contacted by someone that you are unsure of on a forum, contact the forum administrator.

- Avoid sites that are meant for adults.

 Various social networking sites are also valuable tools used by many companies and individuals to extend their contacts and deliver marketing messages.

The nature of social networking – having such a massive base of users who are unknown to you – means that using it carries a degree of risk including becoming a target for cyber-criminals. 

The Risks

    Disclosure of private information by either yourself or friends/contacts.



    Access to age-inappropriate content.

    Online grooming and child abuse.

    Prosecution or recrimination from posting offensive or inappropriate comments.

    Phishing emails allegedly from social networking sites, but actually encouraging you to visit fraudulent or inappropriate websites.

    Friends’, other people’s and companies' posts encouraging you to link to fraudulent or inappropriate websites.

    People hacking into or hijacking your account or page.

    Viruses or spyware contained within message attachments or photographs.

Safe Social Networking

You can avoid these risks and enjoy using social networking sites by following a few sensible guidelines:

    Do not let peer pressure or what other people are doing on these sites convince you to do something you are not comfortable with.

    Be wary of publishing any identifying information about yourself – either in your profile or in your posts – such as phone numbers, pictures of your home, workplace or school, your address or birthday.

    Pick a user name that does not include any personal information. For example, “joe_glasgow” or “jane_liverpool” would be bad choices.

    Set up a separate email account to register and receive mail from the site. That way if you want to close down your account/page, you can simply stop using that mail account. Setting up a new email account is very simple and quick to do using such providers as Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail or gmail.

    Use strong passwords.

    Keep your profile closed and allow only your friends to view your profile.

    What goes online stays online. Do not say anything or publish pictures that might later cause you or someone else embarrassment.

    Never post comments that are abusive or may cause offence to either individuals or groups of society.

    Be aware of what friends post about you, or reply to your posts, particularly about your personal details and activities.

    Remember that many companies routinely view current or prospective employees’ social networking pages, so be careful about what you say, what pictures you post and your profile.

    Learn how to use the site properly. Use the privacy features to restrict strangers’ access to your profile. Be guarded about who you let join your network.

    Be on your guard against phishing scams, including fake friend requests and posts from individuals or companies inviting you to visit other pages or sites.

    If you do get caught up in a scam, make sure you remove any corresponding likes and app permissions from your account.

    Ensure you have effective and updated antivirus/antispyware software and firewall running before you go online.

For more information:-http://www.getsafeonline.org/social-networking/social-networking-sites/
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