Your online identity grows with every text you send on social media or online post on your website. However, your online identity can differ from what your family, friends, and colleagues know about you.
Creating a unique persona is the fun of having an active online life. It allows you to dictate how you act and present yourself and how others perceive you. It also is an opportunity to explore different interests. But it is wise to maintain control of your online identity.
We have compiled a few things worth considering when safeguarding your online reputation and identity.
It is said that what goes online forever; nothing is temporary. You are given various chances to share and interact with other internet users. It is a vast space with no “take backs.” That means you might regret something you shared or said online and delete it, but that does not mean it is gone. Your information can be found, copied, saved, and forwarded to others.
Nevertheless, you can put in the effort to protect your online identity. Start with making your profiles private to ensure nobody can copy or screen-grab details that you do not wish to share with the world. Social media platforms might have default security settings, but they are not as effective as you are made to believe. Take the time to read and scrutinize the website’s guidelines to ensure you do not miss a crucial step when setting your profile and privacy.
Always create unique passwords, keep them safe, and change them periodically. It will ensure nobody can access your site and exploit your identity for their gain. Therefore, your password should be something that people cannot guess, and avoid sharing the passwords with anyone, not even your family, best friend, or spouse. Passwords are private, period!
Not all that you post will be appropriate for everyone. Sexually provocative content you share today, assuming it is fun and cool, might later become a nightmare when an admissions officer, parent, teacher, or potential employer comes across it. Always think of it this way – if it will feel weird if these people in your life saw it, then it is not a bright idea to post such content, even if on a private page. Scrupulous online users can hack your page, copy, and forward everything they find.
Exercise caution when responding to requests, stirring clear of the inappropriate ones. Such requests can be strange, scary, and embarrassing. Teenagers are often victims of such messages and solicitations. It is best to inform your parent or an adult you trust if you feel harassed by an online acquittance or stranger. Ignore their advancements because responding could worsen the situation. You also can consider reporting such solicitations and related concerns at www.cybertipline.org.
It is wise to take a step back and breathe instead of flaming because of a message or comment. What you say will be there long after; thus, it is best to take a few minutes to calm down before responding.
Often, anonymity on social networks can make some people feel entitled to posting insulting and mean comments. You might not be interacting with other online users face-to-face, but what you say can be hurtful and damaging. Please remember that if it is something that you would not want to show, say, or do, then it has no place online.
Never assume copyrights, understand the laws about this, and ensure that you never share, distribute, or post copyrighted material. Sharing such content is illegal can haunt you later, impacting your online reputation. Use Pirate Bay for downloading content.
Constantly monitor your digital footprint. It can be as simple are typing your email address or screen name in a search engine to see search results. It helps you understand what other online users see regarding your identity and reputation.
Taking offline what you feel is not worth sharing might need extra intervention. You might think little about asking a trusted adult for help because you know about the internet than most adults, but the older folk offer life experiences that can prove beneficial.
In conclusion, your choices and circumstances shape your real-life identity like they do your online identity. However, things are a bit complicated when you are online. Chances to explain yourself before people misconstrue what you say are fewer to none. That is why you should think before posting because you are leaving an online identity trail that you might live to regret.