Your online security 101

By Allan Olingo

Social media is a valuable tool for entertainment, information and education. Everyone, including pupils and students, should be encouraged to use it. However, with the easy access via phones and laptops, ensuring your child’s safety online should be a priority for parents.

With the fast-changing technology, children can easily outsmart their parents and get exposed to material that could be harmful.

As a parent, you need to know what social media sites your children can access and even be part of their online experience so that you can ensure their safety. Without a safety net, young people can fall into the danger zones of pornography, predators, negative influence and even online scams.

When used properly, with the right precautions and the information, social media educates, positively influences and provides a creative outlet for young minds.

Here is how a young person or a parent can ensure the safety of their children in the social media.

Privacy options

With networks like Facebook or Twitter, for example, set privacy options carefully. Not only are profiles often public, social sites can take your details to the top of the search engine rankings. Just type your name into Google to see what I mean. Alter the privacy settings to determine who sees what you post or your biographic information. This way, you will be in control of the information you share.


If you use the same password for every site and it is found out, you’re in trouble because if it is hacked, the hackers can access more than just your social media profile. Hackers target less secure password data. Changing passwords regularly is a bit of a hassle, but please change the critical ones such the Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

Phone number and email

Do not provide your phone numbers in your profile because this can be retrieved and used to compromise your privacy.

For most social media sites, we also provide email addresses where we can be reached. Most of us use one email address for a lot of our online activities and this can be used to find you. This will compromise you privacy, especially when a hacker or a stalker accesses them. It’s advisable to adjust your privacy settings so that such crucial details are only visible to you and selected friends.


Social media profiles have become the target of hackers who use that data to spread their malice or gain access to your more sensitive data.