The main purpose of using social media is to stay connected with friends and have fun. However, there are many that have other, more malicious intentions. Don’t let these users ruin your experience – keep your profiles secure.
Set your profiles to “Private”You don’t want the whole world to see everything that you post online, make sure you set your profile to ‘friends/followers’ only.
Don’t be complacent:Even if you have strong privacy settings in place, don’t forget that what you post online is never really private. Always think before you post.
Recognise the fakes:As with all social media, not everyone will be who they say they are. Some people may want to cause young people harm by hiding behind a profile claiming to be much younger. Be very wary of anyone you don’t know taking an unusual amount of interest in connecting with you. Do not meet up with anybody who you haven’t met in person, and make sure you only accept friend requests from people you know.
Spring clean your contacts:Regularly review and clean up your contacts by removing anyone you no longer engage with.
Block anyone who bothers you:All social media sites allow you to block people who you don’t want accessing your account.
Protect your identity:Don’t share your phone number, address, bank details or any information that may hit to your personal passwords online. Make sure your passwords are strong and change them regularly to protect yourself against hackers or phishing sites.
Avoid potential disasters:Be aware of what you send to people privately, no matter how trustworthy they seem, you can never be sure what they will do with the information you share. Always remember, if you wouldn’t want your parents, peers, teacher, the police or future employers to see it, don’t send it!
Inform your friends:Make sure your friends know your preferences about uploading pictures, tagging your location or sharing information you expect to be confidential.
Be wary of suspicious messages:Messages with a shortened URL alongside a statement such as ‘OMG look at this picture of you…’ are not to be trusted, and will send you to a malicious site. If something looks suspicious, check the email address and put it into a search engine. Malicious senders are usually named and shamed online.
Compiled in collaboration with SaferLondon, the Anti-Bullying Alliance and John Carr OBE