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4 Ways to Ensure Social Media Safety This Holiday Season

November 28, 2014
Social Media Safety
The holiday season brings entertaining parties, fun presents and shopping excursions. However, online shopping, social media posts, and other sources of holiday fun do have the potential to create safety issues if you’re not careful with what you post and how you use your social media accounts. Consider these simple guidelines for creating a safe and rewarding online holiday experience this season.

1. Click with Care

People share pictures and videos with wild abandon on today’s social media websites. It’s important to look at what you’re clicking when you see a photograph or link posted by one of your friends on a social media website. According to virus prevention company McAfee, digital e-cards are a popular way of spreading viruses and getting unsuspecting web surfers to download malicious software.

As with any area of online web surfing, clicking on unknown web addresses is always something to avoid. If you aren’t familiar with a company or website, do a simple Google search before you click on a link to determine whether the video or picture is hosted on a legitimate website. Hackers can take over a person’s social media account and post dangerous links, so use caution whenever you click.

2. Real Life Security and Digital Sharing

Hopefully, you’re already utilizing smart privacy habits online by not sharing your personal information with anyone and by restricting who can see your posts and photographs on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Accidentally sharing your phone number with the public could lead to problems with virtual identity theft, and it could even lead to real-life security problems if that phone number were linked with your home address.

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse suggests that you never share personal information like birth date, age, or where you were born, even with your close friends or family. Consider that if their social media account were hacked, your personal information could be compromised.

3. Think Before You Post Pictures 

You might want everyone to see that adorable picture of the kids when they were opening presents for Christmas while on vacation, but there are several reasons why you might want to delay posting pictures or avoid posting them at all to social media websites.

Consider that posting a picture of yourself while on vacation lets viewers of your social media accounts know that you’re away and may not be home. What better way for a thief to figure out if your home is worth burglarizing than to get confirmation that you’re not home?

4. Don’t Forget Shopping Safety

The popularity of “Cyber Monday” has practically eclipsed that of Black Friday, and the increase in the number of people shopping online has led to some significant security breaches and hacking activity in the past few years.

According to a survey conducted by Webroot, about half of the shoppers surveyed suggested they would shop online using a smartphone or tablet, which is a dramatic increase over just a few years ago. Just as it’s important to consider privacy when using social media websites, the same rules should be applied during any holiday purchases that occur online.

Essential Tips for a Safe Fall Season

November 26, 2014
Safety Tips
For many, fall is the most anticipated season of the year. When a chill enters the air, the leaves change into a beautiful assortment of colors, sweaters and coats are pulled from closets, and preparations begin for the holidays. But with the changing season comes a new set of safety concerns that weren’t there during the summer months. Here are essential tips for a safe and enjoyable autumn.

Prepare Your Vehicles

Certain steps must always be taken to keep your vehicle safe for the road, but there are specific tasks to complete when the cold air arrives. Make sure you always have a warm blanket or two in the trunk just in case your car breaks down and you have a long wait for help. Also make sure your tires are ready for freezing temperatures. Tire pressure changes as the temperature changes, and bald tires, while dangerous all the time, are especially hazardous on early morning icy roads.

Beware of Clogged Gutters

When leaves fall from the trees, they don’t just end up in the yard. They also end up in your gutters. Clean and free gutters are essential to the health of your home, but be careful on ladders if you clean the gutters yourself. A fall from a tall ladder is not only dangerous, it can be deadly. Consider hiring this job out to a professional. If you must clean your gutters yourself, ask a family member or friend to help you keep the ladder safe and steady.

Take Care of Yourself

Fall is filled with great times with friends and family, which means you have to take care of yourself if you plan on keeping up with all the holidays and parties. Get extra sleep, eat right, dress for the weather, and get a flu shot. Flu shots have never been easier to get and they’re inexpensive. Fifteen minutes out of your day for a flu shot at your local pharmacy or doctor may save you weeks of misery at the wrong time.

Autumn can be the most beautiful and exciting time of the year. As the summer heat turns into a fall chill, the excitement of a new school year, the coming holidays, and cozy clothes fills the air. Be prepared with these simple tips and don’t let an unexpected accident ruin it for you.

Tailgating Safely During Football Season

November 25, 2014
Tailgating Safety Tips
Cooler temperatures and the kids going back to school signal the arrival of football season and the time-honored tradition of tailgating. The only thing better than cheering on your favorite football team is doing so at a tailgating party with your friends and family. The fun rivalries and camaraderie are a welcome feature of the fall and winter seasons.

However, football is a rowdy sport, and it’s not uncommon to see fans get particularly excited about the success or failure of their team. Here are a few tips you’ll want to use to create a safe tailgating experience for the season.

Limiting Alcohol Intake

Since tailgating involves vehicles, a designated driver is essential, but it’s also a good idea to limit overall alcohol intake. Consider this experience of a fan and his family who attended a game at Candlestick Park to see the San Francisco 49ers play against the New Orleans Saints. The man was a Saints fan and a group of rowdy, inebriated 49ers fans threatened his family. Stories like this are not hard to come by.

Tempers can flare, and people can get into fights during tailgating parties simply because they’re drunk and caught up with the excitement of the game. Consider bringing drinks like water or basic carbonated beverages instead of cases upon cases of beer. You may also consider bringing hot chocolate and cider for those particularly chilly games.

Take a Look at Your Auto Insurance Plan

It might not occur to you, but having insurance is important for tailgating because there’s a vehicle involved. According to Valley Insurance Agency, adequate coverage means being able to cover the contents of your vehicle in case of theft.

Further, you’ll want to make sure you have coverage for things like medical injuries, which may require taking a look at your homeowner’s insurance policy. Do you have coverage if a friend hurts himself while attending a party in your home? 

Tip: You might want to look into umbrella coverage to make sure you’re protected for all events.

Getting Healthy While Tailgating

Just like events such as the Super Bowl, Fourth of July barbecues, and Thanksgiving, tailgating can get rather unhealthy, particularly if you’re out every weekend with your friends to celebrate the team. Consider these final tips from Food in Sight to make sure your tailgating experience is as healthy as it is safe:

•Serve small food-like little burgers and bite-sized brownies instead of huge servings.
•Use dips like hummus and guacamole instead of cheese dip and ranch dressing.
•Bring fruit and veggies instead of tortilla or potato chips.

Also, you’ll want to consider cooking safety in addition to eating healthy. Make sure you grill meat separately from grilling vegetables. In addition, you might want to bring along a fire extinguisher if you’re barbecuing. Finally, don’t just toss those coals after using a charcoal grill; cool them off before throwing them away or tossing them in a container in the bed of your truck.

Football season offers a variety of fun activities for your family, and you’ll want to remain aware of safety concerns at all times. Having a happy, healthy, and safe tailgating season is easy when you follow these simple guidelines.