This post was most recently updated on June 13th, 2019
Social media life is something that none of us can live without any more. Sadly the online world also has some dangers. The combination of anonymity and familiarity can lead to grievous mistakes. While some of these mistakes can be embarrassing, others can cause security problems and even lead to ID theft. In extreme cases, carelessness online can lead to an untimely death. Whatever the consequences, here are 14 things to avoid doing online.
14 things to Avoid Doing Online for Your Safety
In this section, I shall be briefly highlighting thirteen things everyone should avoid doing online because doing these things comes with unpleasant consequences.
For the records, everything we do online is accompanied by our digital address. This is known as the IP address. That address is tied to your router, rather than individual devices, and that means if someone does something bad on your Wi-Fi, it will be traced not to an individual, but to your home.
That could have consequences if you allow someone to use your network and who then goes on to do something illegal. They may download movies or music illegally or just about anything else and you will be held accountable.
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2. Don’t Flaunt Your Wealth Online
Some of us are of the habits of flaunting our wealth or belongings online. For your own safety, I would say you should either desist from this habit or do it in moderation. Not everyone that follows us on social media has our interest at heart. Think about the welfare of your loved ones as well. Maybe they can’t get you, what about your kids? wife or siblings? Don’t be deceived, bad guys can trace you if they want to. so please don’t give them a reason to. Ostentatious wealth display is magnetic to hackers and thieves same way sugar is to ants.
3. Don’t Shop Online When You are Drunk or Drowsy
After hanging out and consuming a great deal of alcohol, the last thing that should be on your mind is online shopping. Similarly, don’t ever try to shop online when you are feeling sleepy/drowsy or you are under the influence of a drug. I once made such a mistake and it was costly.
It is estimated that Amazon sales from drunk shopping tops $1 Billion a year. If at the end you only have a pair of oddly colored sneakers and lots of regrets, then, it is good to avoid this habit.
Clothing is the most common drunk purchase, and the average account holder spends over $500 a year on drunken shopping escapades with Amazon.
4. Don’t Click on Links from Unknown Emails or Ads Online
Not everyone online is genuine. Some are hackers/scammers, some are outright crooks. Fake emails and ads, that pretend to be from a company or organization you know and ask you to click a link are the crook type. If you click on it and fill in your credentials, chances are high that your login will be hacked.
Similarly, hackers may try to install spyware or other problem software on your PC. So always check what you are clicking is from a known and trusted source. If you get an offer for a survey or other unsolicited mail that specifically asks you to click a link, always check who it is from. Google the name and see what comes up, you can usually spot scams quickly this way. Finally, make sure you only fill in your personal details on secure(HTTPS) sites.
5. Avoid Using Public WiFI Hotspots
Among the things to avoid doing online is using a Free public WiFi network. Nothing good comes free.
Don’t just connect your phone or laptop straight to it without putting something between you and the Wi-Fi owners. The reality is that once you connect to a public Wi-Fi, everything you do can be monitored.
You can use public Wi-Fi safely by using a VPN. This way, your connection is encrypted from your phone or laptop onwards.
6. Don’t be Tempted to Opt-out of 2-factor Authentication
2-factor verification offers an extra layer of security to your online accounts. It can seem like a hassle to enter a code from your email or phone to gain access, but it means that even if someone has both your login name and password, they still can’t get access to your account.
7. Avoid the Mistake of Posting Every Photo Online
A picture speaks louder and clearer than a thousand words. Another way you can get into trouble posting is with photos. Always think about what you are putting out there for anyone in the world to see. Photos of kids, anything that is potentially illegal, anything that compromises your professional persona could come back to haunt you at some point. Always be careful with what you share. Remember that, once it is on the internet, you can lose control of who gets to see it.
8. Be Wary of Your Responses During Social Media quizzes or Avoid it Altogether
Take it or leave it, most quizzes are information recorder. You know the type, “Which Kardashian are you most like?” and so on. They take the information you give them and sell it on to companies for profiling. So they know what ads to push to you. It’s sophisticated, but while it seems harmless, data breaches can give all that information about you to someone you would rather not have it. This is especially relevant on Facebook, where there have been some huge privacy violations resulting from quizzes in recent years.
9. Using the same Password for Multiple Websites Should be Avoided
The consequences of this can be very difficult to control. It simply means if someone knows just one of your password, he or she would have access to your other online accounts. If you use the same password for multiple sites, that means hackers, or whoever they sell your data too, can not only gain access to the hacked account but everywhere else you used the same email and password combination.
Random passwords are the only way to avoid this, but how do you remember them all? A password manager is your answer. There are several such apps out there that are completely free to use. They generate random strings of characters and letters and store them for you, so you don’t have to remember them all yourself. Just don’t forget the master password!
10. Don’t Show off with Someone else’s Properties or Impersonates Someone Online
Impersonation, when uncovered, is like an ill wind that blows no one no good. Don’t show off with someone else’s wealth or properties. Likewise, don’t impersonate anyone. If you do, you will either be sued by the original personality or attacked by his enemies. it is not uncommon to be embarrassed publicly by the owners of the properties with which you are laying claim to.
Furthermore, trying to impersonate or portray a character that you are not online can land you into trouble with those who are looking for an opportunity to attack such an individual. Don’t bring woes upon yourself by doing things that you can easily avoid. Impersonation on its own(be it offline or online) is illegal. it gets worse if you do so online since you can easily lose control.
11. Don’t Post Online in Annoyance!
Social media is a part of the fabric of life today. Sure, some people will tell you not to use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on at all. However, the reality is that we do use them. It is impractical for some people to stop using social media completely.
However, there is one thing you shouldn’t do, and that is posting a reply or update when angry. Getting into an argument on social media is not only a waste of time, no one changes their mind on the internet, but posting in anger can let you say something you shouldn’t. Today, when employers and schools check social media profiles as part of the application process, that can have disastrous consequences.
12. Don’t Ever say you are going on Vacation Online
Everybody loves a good vacation, but what you don’t want to do is return to a home that has been broken into with all your valuable possessions stolen. So, don’t post vacation pics online while you are on vacation. Also, don’t announce you are going on vacation and give the dates online, you never know who is watching.
13. Don’t forget to Configure Your Online Privacy Settings
Whenever I open a new social media account, the first thing I do is to turn off every setting that will give out too much information about my personal life. All the big social media providers, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on, have settings to adjust who has access to the content you put on their site.
You can restrict some content to just your friends, or even a specific group of friends. So, if you have the tools, always use them to be as private as possible. In addition, don’t put your personal line online for all to see. Restrict the visibility of private data only to very close friends.
14. Don’t Self-Diagnose through Online Medical sites
Please, don’t be tempted to try and diagnose yourself. Before you know it, a stomach ache will have become stage 4 stomach cancer and you have convinced yourself you will be dead by morning.
It’s stressful and it can make things worse, so don’t do it, if you have a problem, see a doctor. There is great information on those sites, and they can help once you know what is wrong, but the problem is that lots of things have similar symptoms, and our minds will always convince us it is the worst option, every time. Get a doctor’s opinion first, every time.