How to Understand Your Online Privacy Settings

With so many devices, websites and apps that we use, it can be difficult to understand all the privacy settings that come along with them. But, it’s important to understand what they mean so that we can protect ourselves and our families, no matter what kind of technology we are using. Most of these settings can be adjusted on your device’s settings app or in your social media profile’s setting.

Social Media Post Visibility

Most social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram will allow you to choose who you would like to see your posts. We suggest only letting people you are friends with see your posts. But you can also choose to let “Friends of Friends” or everyone see your posts. Something to be aware of is even if your post visibility is set to “Friends only”, anyone can see your profile photo and/or cover photos.

Social Media Profile Visibility

Just because your post visibility is “Friends only” doesn’t mean that all your information on your profile is private. Other information on your profile could be visible to the public, including your phone number, date of birth and city. These settings can be adjusted in your profile settings to be shown to your friends, the public or no one.

Social Media Messaging

If you want to avoid getting random messages from strangers, make sure that your messaging settings are locked down too! Some social media platforms will put unwanted messages into a “Message Request” folder, so you can still see the message requests you receive from people who you have not connected with yet.

Location Services

Location services use your device’s GPS to track your location and send that information to certain apps or websites. This can be helpful and necessary for certain apps, such as Maps, Uber and Yelp, but not all apps need to have access to your location. In your device’s settings, you can choose which apps and websites can use your location services and you can also choose when you want those apps to be able to see your location. Some apps will only use your location when you are using the app, while others may use it all times.

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