Social media

Social networking is a part of modern life. It can enable you to stay in touch with your friends and family - share experiences and photographs. But it is important to be careful online.

The risks

  • Disclosure of private information by either yourself or friends or contacts.
  • Bullying or cyber-stalking.
  • Prosecution or recrimination from posting offensive or inappropriate comments.
  • Phishing emails allegedly from social networking sites, but actually encouraging you to visit fraudulent or inappropriate websites.
  • Other people’s posts encouraging you to link to fraudulent or inappropriate websites.
  • People hacking into or hijacking your account or page.
  • Viruses or spyware contained within message attachments or photographs.
  • Online grooming and access to age-inappropriate content.

Never disclose private information when social networking. 
Be wary about who you invite or accept invitations from. 
Be careful about clicking on links in an email or social networking post.

How can I use social media responsibly?

You can avoid these risks and enjoy using social networking sites by following a few sensible guidelines:

  • Think before you post. Respect yourself and others online.
  • What goes online stays online. Don't publish anything that might cause you or someone else embarrassment.
  • Never post comments that are abusive or may cause offence to either individuals or groups.
  • Don't be pressured into posting something you're not comfortable with. 
  • Be wary of publishing any identifying information such as phone numbers, pictures of your home, your address or birthday.
  • Pick a user name that does not include any personal information.
  • Set up a separate email account to register and receive mail from the site. That way if you want to close down your account you can simply stop using that mail account.
  • Use strong passwords: a mixture of letters and numbers, upper and lower case; avoid real words or names.
  • Keep your profile closed and allow only your friends to view your profile.
  • Be aware of what friends post about you, particularly about your personal details and activities. 
  • Companies often view prospective employees’ social networking pages, so be careful about what you say and what pictures you post.
  • Be on your guard against phishing scams, including fake friend requests and posts from people inviting you to visit other pages.
  • If you do get caught up in a scam, make sure you remove any corresponding likes and app permissions from your account.
  • Ensure you have an effective and updated antivirus/antispyware software and firewall running before you go online.
  • Report any concerns to the site provider.