There’s been a lot of talk over the past few weeks about internet safety in Ireland. Some points have been very valid and others are just a bit too much of a won’t somebody please think of the children vibe. There’s concern and there’s overreacting.
The internet and social media is now embedded in our society. The genie is out of the bottle and there’s no way to go back. It’s also not right to punish people, especially teens, for the bad actions of others. It goes back to the issue of victim blaming. Social Media is perfectly safe, if you’re mature enough to deal with it. The internet is a bit like driving, you need to learn how to do it safely. With all this in mind we thought we would share a few simple tips to keep yourself safe online.
Do not get caught up in a game of who has more followers.
It can be tempting to keep your profile open to gain more followers, but don’t. It’s like keeping the front door of your house open so people can come and go as they please. It’s weird and you’d never do it in “real life” so why do you leave the door to your life open online? There’s a lot of information people can get from a simple photo on Instagram. Be mysterious and safe all in one go.
Know the signs if someone is going too far.
Rule in life: always be suspicious. Is someone who you don’t know constantly trying to interact with you? It’s nice to get compliments, but is it a bit too persistent? Do they have an ulterior motive in trying to get your attention and talk to you? These are all things that you have to keep in mind. The internet is a great place to connect with people, but you still need to protect yourself all the time.
DELETE, DELETE, DELETE
Again, put yourself in the real world. If someone stood in front of you and was hurling abuse at you would you stay standing there? No. So, if someone is being abusive to you online delete and block them. If someone is anonymously harassing you online see how pathetic they are and delete them.
It drives bullies insane if you ignore them. It can be hard, we know, but delete them. It’s actually pretty cathartic. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable in any way delete them straight away and block them.
Protecting yourself is in no way weak. In fact is shows great strength and maturity.
How could it affect your future?
The online world is changing rapidly and who knows where it is going to be in 5 years time. As scary and downright annoying as it is you don’t know how your online profile might affect your career prospects in years to come. Once something is on the internet it’s there forever. There are lots of sneaky ways to save or find something. Rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t like your parents to see it don’t put it online.
Tips To Keep Yourself Safe Online.
There are certain apps we think you should avoid having on your phone such as:
– KiK ( Anonymous messaging app)
– Sarahah (Anonymous messenger board)
You don’t need these in your life. Be the brave one amongst your friends and say that you have no interest in them. You’ll be surprised at who will follow suit. And if someone gives you slack for not having a certain app, let them off. There are tons of other apps to communicate with friends and not randomers.
You should never:
– Share your location
– Agree to meet with someone you “met” online
– Share pictures/videos of any kind with people you do not know
– Accept follower/friend requests from strangers.
– Share private information
Every popular social media site/platform/app, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. have privacy settings, and you should understand your privacy settings, and should be aware of who can see the content you are sharing!
We recommend the following settings for the following online profiles :
– Instagram: Private Account
– Facebook: Friends Only
– Twitter: Protect my tweets
– TikTok: Privacy Settings
Here are a few key safety tips for the EXTREMELY popular Snapchat:
– NEVER send inappropriate images/videos, it is very easy for people to save them without you knowing.
– ONLY friends should be able to see your Snapchat story
– TURN OFF Snap Map! (https://goo.gl/bmYZcK )
Plenty of online profiles such as Instagram, Twitter, Tinder allow you to put personal info into Bio’s. You should NEVER include the following personal information in your bios:
– Phone Number
We know that you might see some Influencers or Bloggers sharing such information, but please remember that they are professionals and such contact information is handy for PR’s and people looking to work with them. Soz hun, but you’re not a celebrity, so keep those details to yourself.
Lets talk honestly here, don’t put your age up online. If someone with a perverted mind is looking to interact with a teen and they see your age you are marking yourself straight away. You would probably put your age up innocently enough, but when you think about it from that angle it’s scary.
If someone is making you feel uncomfortable online firstly block them. You can report them to the Social Media site. We strongly encourage you to do this, but please be aware that there are millions of people using these apps every day and it can be hard to get a quick response from the Help Teams. For that reason we urge you to share your concerns with someone else such as a friend or and adult if the situation calls for it.
One last note
If you have younger brother’s or sisters take the time to sit down and discuss technology and the online world with them. Explain the dangers and the risks, and explain how to be safe online.
Most importantly remember that NO MATTER WHAT there is always a solution and you should always share any concerns with someone else.
How do you keep yourself safe online?