Top Ten Tips For Staying Safe On Social Networks

  1. Do not post your personal information on social networks. Your phone number, address and date of birth can all easily be used for identity theft. If you add additional details such as your work address, local gym you use and favourite place to eat on a regular basis, you’ve made it easy for anyone looking at your profile to pinpoint your location. The same applies for your children. Let them know that the more detail they post about their whereabouts and personal details, the easier it is for strangers to reach them.
  2. Teach your children to set up their profile so that only their Friends can see their posts and full information. We don’t encourage children to share personal details with strangers in the street so why do it online?
  3. Be careful of posting pictures of your children. Ensure you privacy filters are set to the maximum level and only friends can see your posts. Many people have found their images being used for campaigns and other activities without their permission. Have a conversation with your children to ensure if they have a social network account, they understand the implications of posting images of themselves and others. Encourage them to only post pictures they would be happy for you and other family members to view.
  4. Keep an eye on the pictures you or your children are tagged in by your family and friends. If you don’t like what you see, un-tag yourself and if you want the picture to be removed, speak to the person responsible for the account.
  5. Never post information about the exact dates you are going on holiday especially if your profile is public and you have your address online! Tell your children to keep precise details of travel plans under wraps.
  6. Change your password frequently and never use your pets name if you post about them frequently. Hackers use various tricks to get into your account and using your pets name is one of the most common methods of cracking your password. Encourage your children to keep their passwords safe from other users, other children may take advantage of your child’s trusting nature.
  7. Do not leave your social media account open on your PC at home or at work. Anyone can make posts on your behalf and have a laugh at your expense.
  8. Think about what you ‘Like’ on your Facebook feed. Remember your family, friends and colleagues will see if you ‘Like’ an extremist site or something that’s offensive to others. Your online presence has a huge impact on your offline life. Your child is building a digital footprint that will remain with them for the rest of their life. If you don’t like what they’ve posted, talk to them about it and discuss removing it, but remember, even if you remove something offline, someone else may have taken a screenshot or copied the content to use against you. Always think before you post.
  9. Stay on the right side of the law. Creating inappropriate, illegal or offensive content can get you in trouble with your employer, your school and even the police. It is important that you and your family understand what is and isn’t acceptable online. The best way to approach it is to say what you’re posting out loud and then consider if you would say it to the persons face or in a room full of people you know. If the answer is ‘No’ and your comments or images are offensive, think twice before posting.
  10. Don’t always believe what you see on a social network. Some people aren’t who they say they are and are using social networks to manipulate vulnerable users. Always ensure you know the person you are talking to and keep an eye on your children’s interactions online. Stranger danger applies online as well as offline.

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We are happy to highlight any recommendations from our internet safety community.