Steps to Make Your Digital Life Safer and More Private

They’re easy to do, too!

The list of digital faux pas you can make is endless… And while accidentally posting your crush’s name as a Facebook status instead of typing it in the search bar is incredibly embarrassing, there are other mistakes that have more devastating consequences. Keep yourself and your online presence safe by taking a few smart steps in the right direction to a more private digital life:

Say no to data sharing 

All of your social media accounts are tracking your interests and showing you adverts based on them. Turn off their ability to share these personal insights with advertisers by changing your ad and data sharing preferences on Twitter, Google and Facebook (which will also let you request to not see any parenting-based posts on your timeline, super handy for when all your friends are having kids and you start to be inundated with adverts for breast pumps).

Stop keeping your passwords written down 

Seriously, don’t have a memo on your phone that contains any passwords or pin codes on it, no matter how well you think you’ve hidden it. And please remember to never make your pin number your birthday or part of your phone number. It’s just to easy for someone else to guess.

Don’t let your inbox fill up with annoying spam 

How annoying is it when you’re just trying to enter a site/score some free wifi/agree to some terms and conditions and the site requires you to enter an email address? You know you won’t be accessing this site again but now will have to deal with their spam for years to come. Use a site like 10 Minute Mail, which will generate a valid email address (don’t worry, it doesn’t belong to anyone) for you to copy and paste into a form. The email address self-destructs after 10 minutes.

Always use the lock-screen function 

We know it’s easier to be able to simply swipe your screens into action, but if your device is stolen your banking details, private information and so much more is instantly available to the thieves. A four-digit code has 10,000 possible variations while a six-digit code allows for one million possible combinations so make your code a little longer.

Keep automatic software updates turned on 

A lot of people turn off automatic software updates to save on data, phone storage space or because it freaks them out to have robots working behind the scenes on their phones. The truth is, apps are constantly being updated to have better security measures, so you are probably missing out on your apps being safer. Turn this function on.

Be aware of how much personal information you’re sharing online 

We joke about ‘Facebook stalking’ our crushes, but it’s scarily easy for someone to take this to the next level based on the information you share online. You Instagram-ed a photo of your suitcases with the caption ’10 days in Bali!? ‘; you tweeted something funny about leaving enough cat food out to last two weeks because you couldn’t find someone to housesit for you, and earlier that month you were trying to get rid of your old washing machine and told anyone in your Facebook friends list that they could come collect it from your address. These are all pretty innocent and normal posts to make, but now everyone with access to your pages knows where you live and the fact that your home will be empty for 10 days. Think twice before you make personal posts, or switch your social media accounts to private.

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