“Teens are sharing more information about themselves on social media sites than they have in the past,” according to a recent Pew Internet research report on Teens, Social Media, and Privacy. Below are more findings from the report; reflect on how your own habits stack up -- and on how much you might be putting yourself at risk. Remember, the more personal or private information you post about yourself, the easier it is for identity thieves, predators and others to do you harm.
Student contributors weigh in on managing your online identity.
“As a junior in high school, the most identity theft I’ve seen is someone hacking into someone else’s Facebook or email account. A few ways to prevent something like that from happening all revolve around passwords. A simple password, or a password someone else knows, would make it extremely easy for someone to hack your Facebook or email account. If you feel like someone knows your password, change it.”
Abbigail McCray • Princeton High School
“Be very careful when posting something on the internet. As soon as your words or pictures hit the Web, chances are, at least one person has already viewed them. This could lead to repercussions, such as your pictures being used in an unwanted manner. Even if you delete your post, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been viewed by multiple people. That being said, stay cautious.”
Aubreigh Sabbota • Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, Mich.
“Your identity is the definition of you. If someone steals your information, it’s like having someone steal who you are. So it is very important to keep your information to yourself and not let those trying to fool you succeed. My email was hacked, and I know those who have had the same experience know that it is a violation of our privacy.
It is important to understand that there are people out there wasting their lives trying to steal others’ identities. To protect yours, browse the Web safely and be aware of fake websites. Know that identity theft may not seem too bad, but once it has happened to you, you will know how greatly it impacts your life.”
Maria Maldonado • Ventura College, Ventura, California