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.
- 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.
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.