Internet Safety Part 2: Being Social Media Savvy


I don’t know many people who don’t have at least one social
media account. Whether it’s posting a status update, a photo, shopping, texting
or tweeting, individuals are interacting on the internet via social media at
alarming rates.

In one minute on the internet in 2019:

  • 1 million people log in to Facebook.
  • 4.5 million videos are viewed on YouTube
  • 347,222 people are scrolling through Instagram
  • 3.8 million Google searches are entered
  • 87,500 people are tweeting
  • $996,956 is spent online
  • 41.6 million messages are sent via Facebook
    messenger and WhatsApp
  • 2.1 million “snaps” are created on Snapchat

In. One. Minute.

With all this sharing and posting and shopping, we need to
be savvy about protecting our privacy and our well-being, while allowing our
internet usage to add to our quality of life.

Here are some tips for smart, safe, savvy social media use:

Assess your online image—what are you putting out there, and
where, about yourself?

  • What social media sites do you engage with?
  • What do your social media sites say about you?
  • Who can see this information about you—and are
    you ok with this?
  • Before you post
    • Would I want my family/friends to see this and
      know this about me?
    • Would I want a current or future employer to
      know this about me?
    • What about volunteer work I do?—what does that
      say about me and the things I care about?

Managing your online identity

  • Conduct a google inventory about yourself-know
    what is out there about you, your activities and affiliations
  • Prepare your ”elevator” speech-Imagine you are
    in an elevator with someone you don’t know that well and they say, “Oh hey I
    think I saw that photo of you at the Cancer Center on Instagram.” How do you
    respond to that statement? Do you talk about your diagnosis and treatment? Do
    you acknowledge that you were there? Thinking about this before someone asks
    you about a social media post can help you be prepared. And yes, it’s always
    okay to say, “must have been someone else who looked like me,” and change the
    subject. In any case, an ounce of preparation is worth being surprised in a job
    interview or social situation.
  • Regularly perform a privacy settings check on
    all social media websites you use. Again, do this at least twice a year or if
    you receive any notices from websites you interact with about changes to their
    privacy policies. Also, change your passwords regularly to protect your
    accounts from being hacked.
  • Think about the permanency of the internet-It’s
    so easy to put things up on the internet, it’s really hard for them to go away
    permanently. The legacy of what we share and put out in the cyberworld about
    ourselves is real. Screenshots last forever.
  • If you are concerned about disclosure of your
    diagnosis in a public space, but want to remain connected with family/friends,
    go “under the radar.”

The internet and social media have transformed the ways we
communicate and live. We can use these tools safely with a little bit of effort
to define and maintain our comfort levels with sharing, privacy and sharing
financial information online. Do the work and protect yourself and your family.

Have you checked your privacy settings this

Christina is a clinical oncology social worker who joined the OncoLink team in 2014. Christina blogs about resources available to the cancer community, as well as general information about coping with cancer practically, emotionally, and spiritually. Christina is an avid knitter and spends a great deal of time posting pictures and stories about her three beagles, Linus, Maggie and Huckleberry. She also loves to travel, cook and is an avid Philly sports fan.

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