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A few simple precautions can help you protect your online reputation

Social media is a great way to connect with family, friends and celebrities. It provides easy access friends and helps us keep up with others’ lives. Unfortunately, with every positive aspect of social media comes a lot of danger.

Things we post can never be taken back. At the time we’re posting, this might not seem like a big deal, but photos and tweets can come back to haunt us in the future.

This is because the Internet is like a giant filing cabinet. Things we store in this filing cabinet can never be removed or erased. Whether it’s a picture or tweet, sharing personal information can be quite hazardous.

One of the most important reasons for taking precautions on social media is to maintain a good online reputation. Recent research found that job recruiters reject 70 percent of candidates based on information they found online, according to the staysafeonline.org website, powered by the National Cyber Security Alliance.

The website advises that you think twice before posting pictures you wouldn’t want your parents or future employers to see.

An article from CNN reports that a school in Huntsville, Ala., hired a retired FBI agent to review students’ accounts. After a social media post containing a threat to a teacher was found, the district started a program called “Students Against Fear.” Since the program started, 14 students have been expelled for social media accounts were reviewed and deemed inappropriate.

Besides having your accounts reviewed by job recruiters and schools, a recent article from the Chicago Tribune explains that certain social media activity might also affect future credit scores.

FICO, one of the nation’s largest credit rating companies, began looking at information posted on social media sites (such as Facebook) in order to test a consumer’s creditworthiness. The company also reviews smartphone records.

FICO Chief Executive Will Lansing told the Financial Times newspaper that the number of times a person says “wasted” in their (Facebook) profile has some value in predicting whether or not they will repay their debt.

The article also advises high schoolers to think twice before posting party pictures from spring break (or any other questionable material) because college admissions officers could be peeking.

The reason companies are able to peek at the accounts draws back to the software technology they use in order to search for keywords, phrases and slang terms, particularly for drinking and partying.

You may begin to wonder, is there any way to stay safe on social media?

According to the official website of the Department of Homeland Security, some simple social media safety precautions you should take include: limiting the amount of personal information you share, using strong passwords, checking privacy policies, evaluating settings, being wary of strangers and being skeptical of false information posted online.

Brianna Propis is a freshman at St. Mary’s High School.

Recent research found that job recruiters reject 70 percent of candidates based on information they found online.