Stay aware of privacy settings on social media

With the pervasiveness of Facebook and other social media, people have to make sure they know who is viewing their information and be careful who they share posts with.

Daya Sharma, professor of computer science at Odessa College, said as soon as you log in and register, you have to check the settings to see who you are sharing information with. Sharma said people are using the platform to connect and for entertainment, but what Facebook and other social media companies get out of it is information about the user.

This way, they can target users with specific products, find out what your views are about things and your likes and dislikes, Sharma said.

Sharma said the company has posted videos on how people can protect their privacy.

The average teenager spends almost 4.5 hours a day on Facebook and other social media, mainly by way of their smart phones, Sharma said.

According to the Pew Research Center, most Facebook users visit the site at least once a day.

Seventy-four percent of Facebook’s users in the United States say they visit the site on a daily basis, according to a January 2018 survey, the Pew Research Center site said.

“That’s statistically no different from April 2016, the last time the Center asked this question. The share of users who visit Facebook at least once a day is higher than the share who visit Snapchat (63 percent) and Instagram (60 percent) at least once a day. However, Facebook and Snapchat have similar shares of users who say they visit each respective site several times a day (51 percent versus 49 percent),” the site said.

As a result, Sharma said Facebook has a “wonderful opportunity” to advertise products to users.

“We forget that Facebook is a company which has to make a profit, so we basically trust, I would say blindly, and share our information, our views and attention. The health side of using the social media sites are that people who are using social media tend to have more depression and anxiety issues, compared to those kids who go out and play sports, or go to religious kind of gatherings,” Sharma said.

He added that users may also experience depression, anxiety and sleep difficulties.

There also are the issues of social awkwardness, social media addiction, social media exacerbating a communication gap between parents and children and cyberbullying.

On the subject of hacking, Sharma said there are password manager tools where you just have to remember one master password, but they generate passwords for multiple sites.

Sharma said professors try to share the latest information with students so they have some security awareness when they get into the job market or are working online.

“When you keep clicking those links, you download malware and spyware on your computer. Basically, they monitor your every single activity. The solution to all these issues would go to better education. With better education, you can bring better awareness,” Sharma said.

He also shares cybersecurity information during professional development sessions.

Sharma recommends using a credit card instead of a debit card for purchases because if something goes wrong with a credit card, it’s the bank’s money not yours.

Sharma said he also works with healthcare institutions to spread awareness of cybersecurity.

He added that the vice presidents and deans are interested in offering a cybersecurity certification and ultimately a degree program at OC.