Social media safety

A mobile phone in slanted light.

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.

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.

In crisis now

Call 999 for emergency services - or for security services on campus call 01904 32 3333 or use the Safezone app.

Related 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.

A tablet and two phones on a table between the hands of two people, along with a bag, a cup of coffee, and a glass of water.

  • 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.