Connecting with family and friends online can be fun and exciting, but it also comes with some risks. There are a few simple things you can do to try to keep safe online:
Think before you accept requests – only accept ‘friend’ requests from people you know in real life. This reduces the chance of getting into an unsafe situation. Do not accept random requests especially if there are no mutual friends.
Block anyone you’ve had contact with that was negative or unsafe – this stops them from having contact with you and from seeing your profile if they search for you after you block them.
Think before you upload and share photos – post photos that show you and your friends in a positive way. Once it’s uploaded, it’s no longer private and could be viewed by friends, family, teachers and strangers. Once you post something, it’s not yours anymore even if it is under your profile.
Be mindful of what you write to others – you never know who will read these comments and how they might interpret them. Something that you think is funny could be very serious to others.
Think carefully about sharing links to other sites – the content could be embarrassing, upsetting or hurtful to others. Also, having an internet security filtering system on your device is a very good tool to filter the content that you are searching for.
Think about your privacy – avoid sharing personal information online that could be misused by someone in real life. Check your privacy settings and make sure your account is secure. Remember, once you post something online about you or your family, it is not yours anymore, because you decided to make it available for the public.
Seek professional IT advice from an expert – if you are unsure, just ask those who have the knowledge and those who are impartial. Ask your IT team at school, at work or an expert who is in the industry. You can also seek this knowledge from sources like Google, but make sure those results are authentic and a trusted source of information.
Stay safe and always remember, ask those who know if you do not know.