Social networking

Enjoy using services like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? Check out our top tips and advice for safe social networking.

Social networking sites are places where you can connect and share content with friends. On these services you are able to use different applications and a whole range of media such as video, photos, music and chat.

 5 top tips for safe social networking:

  1. Friends: consider who you choose to accept or invite as a friend on your social networks. Once you accept someone as a friend they are able to see your content. It’s important to always remember that not everyone online is reliable and some people may lie about who they are. Remember if someone is aggressive or inappropriate to you online most social networking sites have tools to help you block or delete that person.
  2. Privacy: most social networking sites have tools available to protect the things you post online and how much you share with others. It’s really important to check your privacy settings; do you know who can see your content? We would recommend that you change your settings so that you are only sharing with your friends.
  3. Think before you post: would you be happy for your head teacher or your grandparents to see all of the things you have posted online? It is important to remember that once you post something online it is potentially there forever! This also relates to content that you post about others; what starts out as a joke or gossip can quickly escalate and cause real pain and upset that can’t be taken back.
  4. Photos: remember your profile picture is the first impression you may give someone. Think carefully about the photos you choose to share online; do they give away a lot of information about you (eg a picture of you in your school uniform)? Also keep in mind that photos can be easily copied, changed, shared and used elsewhere – would you want a future employee to see that photo? 
  5. Reporting: most social networking sites have a reporting feature in place. If something or someone has broken the social networking site's terms of use and are upsetting or harassing you, then you are able to make a report. All reports are anonymous and will be responded to promptly. Visit the Need help section for advice on reporting on your favourite social networking site. If you wish to report content that a friend has posted, it is a good idea to have a conversation with them first and ask them to take down the content. Let them know that the comment they made or the photo they posted was hurtful or embarrassing so that they think more carefully about their online actions in the future. 

Do the check! Do you know.....

  • What Facebook ‘friends’ are?
  • Who can find what you post on Facebook?
  • What information there is about you online?
  • How does your profile appear?
  • How do you use your Friends lists?
  • Do you know how to de-activate your account?

Download the UK Safer Internet Centre's Facebook Checklist