Social Media and Safety Online

29th November 2018

Social media- why is it so popular? Today society seems to be inseparable from their phones and technical devices. It makes you think what are they up to online, what are you missing out on and is their safety secured? In this blog, we will be going through the popular social media platforms that many use and explain how you can remain safe online.  

Firstly, what is social media? Social media are applications that allow users to connect with others, as well as share their own content. We want to identify to you the most popular ones to help you stay safe online. 

Instagram

Instagram allows you to share images and videos which can be seen by anyone (unless you set your account to private). You can connect with your friends and family, as well as strangers and celebrities, influencers, and idols. Within your account options, you can have it set on public or private (where only your friends can see your profile). This option can be done in the settings section.  

Safety tips for Instagram:

. If you feel uncomfortable by some of the content you are seeing on the app, you can block or unfollow the user so you no longer see their content- you can also report it.
. If you see any mean or malicious comments, you can report the user to Instagram, who will then look into this and try to resolve the issue.
. Decide if you want your account to be public or private. By having a private account, you can decide who follows you (you can accept their requested to follow your account).
. If you see any form of bullying you can report it through the Help Centre. You can also remove any comments from your posts that you have shared. Please make sure you inform a family member, teacher or someone that you trust who can help and support you through your situation if it is affecting you.
. Always think before you post, is it a true representation of who you are? As Instagram is an easy platform for anyone to see your content, make sure you are happy, comfortable and confident with what you are sharing.
 

Snapchat

The main purpose of this app is to take pictures and videos which are only available for a short period of time, however, you can also use this app to message your friends. Pictures and videos can be posted on your story, which will stay live for 24 hours, where your friends can view the content you have shared.
 

Safety tips for Snapchat: 

. Be respectful and thoughtful of the content that you Snap and send to each other. 
. Be aware that anyone can screenshot your Snap, even though they disappear they can easily be screenshotted for someone else to use. 
. Take the opportunity to check your privacy setting, as here you can decide who can view your Stories and send you Snaps.
. Snap Map screen- people can view your location when using the app due to the map feature that is available. With this feature, you can turn on ghost mode where no one can know your location. 

Twitter

Twitter is an online news and social networking service where users post and interact with messages known as "tweets". Tweeting is posting short messages which your followers can see or anyone who views your account (depending if it is private). Tweets are a way to express your opinions, share updates or useful information. 

Safety tips for Twitter: 

. Keep your personal information out of your profile, the same with your tweets. 
. Do not add your location to tweets, so people you do not know cannot trace where you are.
. Block those who bother or offend you and report to Twitter if necessary.
. Flag inappropriate tweets, ads or images so Twitter can take action.
. If you feel threatened, you can report to Twitter and the authorities.
 

Facebook

Facebook is a networking app where users can post images, videos, links, share comments, message, live stream, make purchases and more. You can share content that can be accessed by the public or only by your friends.

Safety tips for Facebook: 

. Make an account when you are old enough to do so. Facebook forbids anyone to make an account until you are 13, so don’t lie about your age- the limit are here to keep you safe!
. Check your privacy settings, to ensure you are comfortable with who views your content and so forth.
. Be careful about the content you post e.g. personal information, location or being home alone, as friends (and viewers if you are public), can see this.
. Make sure you report any abusive or uncomfortable content that should not be on the platform/online.
. Be aware of any scams or fake advertisement.
. Report immediately if your account gets hacked.
 

YouTube

YouTube is a platform for people to upload video content or watch videos on. YouTube users can leave likes, dislikes and comments on videos and you can interact with others who have an account. YouTube is a great place to discover the latest trends, find information and watch your favourite YouTubers.
 

Safety tips for YouTube: 

. If you are posting on YouTube think about the content you are posting. Only post content that makes you happy, don’t upload videos because someone is telling you to.
. Be careful of the information that you are sharing.
. Report any comments on your videos or on someone else’s video that is offensive or inappropriate.
. You can disable comments on your own video. 

There are many applications for you to invest your time into. With so many new things to find and discover online which can be positive. However, the world online can be a harsh place where not every user is friendly or respectful, but by being aware of how to stay safe then there should be no issues. We hope we have given you a better understanding of the purposes and functions of each social platform and most importantly, how to stay safe online.

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