Category: Social Media Safety

Social Media Safety Considerations for Parents


There are many blogs, posts and studies about the impact of social media on teenagers and young children. It’s been proven time and time again that social media use among children can be harmful to their emotional and mental health.

However, these posts often ignore another social media phenomenon that can be harmful: sharenting, or the practice of parents sharing their children’s information, photos and videos online.

Sharenting specifically refers to parents of school-aged children, who share photos or videos of their children on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Though it can be tempting to share fun photos of your kids, there are many safety considerations to think about before hitting send.

Risks of Sharenting

Many kids have a social media presence before they are old enough to be aware of social media at all. Before deciding to post their child on social media, parents should consider the potential risks that come with doing so.

1.     Safety

The Internet is a big — and sometimes dangerous — place. Even when parents have privacy settings or safety measures in place, there isn’t always a guarantee that photos and data are truly private. Posting a child’s photo can pose a potential risk to their privacy and safety, and create a cyber footprint for the child before they are old enough to have an online presence.

2.     Bullying

School can be a hard place for kids, who may at some point experience bullying. Posting photos or videos of children online, especially ones that are potentially embarrassing, can feed these bullies in school or in the community. Posting a child’s image online opens them up to judgement from strangers and friends alike.

3.     Embarrassment

Everyone knows the embarrassment of being tagged in a photo they don’t like — the same philosophy applies to posting photos or videos of children. Though you might think your child looks cute with food all over their face or doing a silly dance, they might be embarrassed to see that content online. It’s a best practice to ask your child whether they consent to having the image posted before uploading it.

In a recent survey conducted by Bestow, however, the majority of Americans didn’t think it was necessary to ask children for permission before posting their photo. In reality, asking permission before posting is a good practice to ensure the child feels supported and avoids feelings of embarrassment or shame.

4.     Permanence

The old adage that nothing posted on the Internet is ever fully deleted rings true. Though bath time photos or silly pictures of food-splattered faces may be cute in the moment, it’s worth considering that these images could potentially follow your child throughout their life.

Best Practices for Parents Online

Of course, parents will sometimes want to post pictures of their children to brag or celebrate. There are certain ways to do so safely.

5.     Avoid Posting Location or Other Private Details

If you’re posting a photo of your child — especially on public platforms — it’s best to avoid including private details that could possibly lead strangers or predators to your location. Don’t include geotags or identifying buildings, street signs or landmarks that could identify where you live.

6.     Ask Your Child What They Think

If you’re unsure whether your child will approve of a photo or video you want to post of them, just ask! Avoid potentially embarrassing or upsetting your child by getting their permission to post them on your social media. This will make your child feel more supported and independent while also helping them curate their own online footprint.

7.     Consider the Future

Before hitting send, remember that you’re posting something that could potentially follow your child throughout their lives. Avoid posting nude, inappropriate or embarrassing content that your child may be embarrassed about when they grow up.

How to Keep Your Personal Data Private on Social Media

Keeping Data Private on Social Media

These days, if you want to find out about someone, all you need to do is go on to Facebook and search for his or her name. With a bit of extra information, you’ll be able to know that person’s address, birthday, relatives, educational background, work experiences, previous travels, and even what he or she ate this morning.

You don’t need a private investigator these days—all you need is social media. It’s one of the reasons why Internet privacy is a hot potato right now. After Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal and the implementation of EU’s GDPR initiative, concerns about internet privacy have skyrocketed. The fact that people spend an average of 2 hours and 24 minutes every day on social media has only highlighted the need for keeping the user’s data private on social media.

What type of information is shared on social media?

Your profile

Most social media platforms allow their users to create online profiles that are very detailed and complete.  Although these details are not required, a lot of users feel the need to complete their profile to make it easier for their friends and acquaintances to easily identify their account. Some of the profile information gathered includes gender, age, family information, interests, address, phone number, educational background, and employment.

Your status updates.

Social networks usually allow users to their status updates to be able to communicate with friends quickly. Although you can choose to restrict access to your status updates, however, it is still visible to Google and other search engines.

Your location. 

Social media networks are designed to broadcast your actual location, either as part of your profile or as an update available to authorized contacts only. When you check in to a local business or attend a local event, you are sharing your current location with other people.

Your shared content.

Social media is all about sharing content about you, about what you do, and about the people around you. Photos, music, videos, and links are some of the common types of content shared on social media.

All the information that you share on social media reveals information about you, including contextual data that you might not even be aware of. By sharing them online, you are providing enough information for advertisers to track you or the government to monitor your activities.

How Is Your Information Used?

The data that you share on social media, whether publicly or through authorized contacts only, can be used by different entities for their own purposes. For example, an advertiser could aggregate your publicly available information, along with your browsing history, to perform targeted advertising. If you’ve seen a lot of sponsored ads on your Newsfeed related to the items you searched or purchased on Marketplace, then that’s part of their behavioral advertising campaigns.

Third-party applications, such as games, quizzes, polls, and other apps like Omegle and Tik Tok, that you grant access to your profile might be getting more information than you realize. This is actually how the British political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, got access to millions of Facebook profiles and influenced public opinion.

Government agencies and law enforcement officers can also monitor your social media networks for valuable information regarding an investigation. Social media has become a vital part of law enforcement investigation because of the abundance of information that can be gleaned from the user’s account. Authorities can also work with the social media platform to get detailed information that is not available to the public.

And for those applying for employment, most recruiters now include looking into the applicant’s social media profiles when doing a background check.

How to Protect Your Privacy on Social Media

How do you keep your data safe on social media? The bad news is that there is always a risk that your information might fall into the wrong hands as long as you use social media. It’s because when you use social media, you’re automatically sharing something to the public.

And let’s admit it: it’s hard to imagine living without social media, especially for people with family members away from home. The good news is that there are some ways to help protect your privacy and mitigate the risk while using social media.

Delete accounts that you don’t need.

The #DeleteFacebook movement is a good example of people going to great lengths to protect their data. This might be a good idea if you are living with your family and don’t need to use it to communicate with other people. Or if you have several Facebook accounts you previously created for some reason. If you find yourself not using a social media account, it would be better to shut down your account and delete the application from your devices to cut off any chances of inadvertent data sharing. You might not be aware of it, but social media apps can theoretically access information and data on your device.

Limit the number of social media networks that you use and don’t create new accounts just to gain more coins for your games or to stalk someone on social media.

Limit your friends.

You’re not obliged to accept everyone who sends you a friend request. You might argue that social media was meant for making friends and connecting with people, but it is not advisable to connect with total strangers. Keep in mind that your list of friends will have access to information that you don’t normally want the public to know, so make sure you know your friends. Don’t hesitate to reject connection or friend requests from users you don’t know or have dodgy profiles. Review your friends list regularly and unfriend those who you don’t know.

Change your privacy settings.

Most social media networks provide users with the option to change their privacy settings and manage the way their information is seen. Platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter have made it easier to decide who can see your posts and who can follow you. You can look around your social media account and look for the Privacy settings.

Facebook, for example, allows you to control who sees your profile and timeline, who can see your email and other contact information, who can tag you on posts, who can send you messages and friend requests, and other information. Other social media platforms also have this option, all you need to do is dig around the platform’s settings. And make sure to check your privacy settings regularly too, because sometimes they get changed suddenly and mysteriously.

Be careful what you post online.

You don’t want people to use your own posts against you or ruin your reputation. If you don’t want something to be associated with you, then post it. Reckless posting can come back to haunt you when you least expect it. Never post anything that you don’t want other people to see. So before you publish your posts, double-check and triple-check.

Keep in mind that everything you publish online could easily be seen by your employers, family members, friends, professional contacts, and anyone else who can see your profile. And though you can always delete the unwanted posts later, you don’t know who has taken a screenshot of your unwanted post. The same goes for your conversations.

Don’t share everything about yourself.

Social media users like to use their real names, addresses, and other personal information to make it easier for friends to recognize them. Professionals, too, like to add their employment details on LinkedIn to build a good reputation and easily connect with other professionals in the industry. However, giving out these details make it very easy for cybercriminals to guess your other important information, such as your work email, to launch targeted phishing or online scams that seem credible. To be safe, don’t share all your information online so hackers will have lesser data to work with.

Don’t share family photos on your social media.

We know you love your kids, but you don’t need to post everything they do on social media. Cyber predators can grab photos of your children and stalk them on the internet. And since you put your address and your complete name on your profile, it is easier for these online predators to locate your house and probably put your kids in danger. Posting pictures of your children online makes them possible targets by sexual and other cyber predators.

Don’t use your social media profile to log into other websites.

These days, it is easier to create new accounts by simply using your social media profiles to log in. For example, you can use your Facebook or Twitter profile to log into other services. Instead of typing in your information, such as email address, password, name, and address, all you need to do is click the ‘Login with Facebook’ or ‘Sign up with Facebook’ option, then everything will be filled out for you.

However, sharing your data across different platforms is very dangerous because you’re pooling all of your data in one location. Once any of these platforms is breached, then all of the accounts associated with your Facebook profile will also be compromised.

So don’t be lazy when creating profiles. Take a few minutes to set up your account using the signup form instead of relying on the ‘Sign up with Facebook’ function.

Wrapping Up

With social media becoming a very important tool for communication, it is becoming harder to stay private and keep your personal information safe. Hopefully, the tips above can help you protect your privacy online while enjoying the benefits of social media. It might be a good idea to receive additional training in online safety to be aware of all possible threats and how to be protected against them

Facebook Privacy Settings

New technology is incredibly exciting and fun. It’s amazing when you think that what you type on your computer in your room can be seen all around the world by anybody with a computer. But should it be seen by anyone with a computer?

Should the kid who’s been insulting you at the park know that you go there every Saturday morning to play basketball?

Should the girl who calls you ugly get to see the new dress you bought?

Probably not.

That’s why in this exciting time in human history, you need to think about your life as a valuable gift. You should think about that before every story you post.

One easy way to make sure your life is shared only with those who like or love you is to use your social media privacy settings.

Like most people, you probably have a Facebook page. You probably know how to post, edit posts, change your profile picture and message friends.

But do you know how to block strangers from looking you up on Facebook? If someone has started insulting you online, do you know how to block that person from posting on your page?

You can even block that person from sending you a private message or looking up your email address.

Another smart setting to protect yourself from dangers online is to only accept friend requests from friends of friends. This helps limit who sees your profile.

Of course, there is a problem with this. You should talk with your friends about their settings. Better still, sit down with your friends (in real time, in real life) and play with the security settings. Show each other how the settings work and which ones you need to use.

When all of you keep control over who can see what you post online, all of you are safer.

All major social media sites have safety and privacy settings. One fast way to learn about them is to Google the social platform’s name and “how to set privacy.”

Remember, talk to your friends and family about their settings. When everyone you share with has the same secure settings, all of you is safer.

For decades, kids have stuck signs on their doors that read: “Keep Out” and “Please Knock” and “Trespassers will be yelled at.” Think about your social media settings as signs on your online door. Don’t let just anyone walk in.

Social Media Safety! To Post or Not to Post

kids social media edicate

Wow! You learned how to do the front crawl, earned $63 dollars with your lemonade stand and your whole family spent a week at a resort all the way across the country. And every day of your summer break, as your thumb hovers over your phone, you need to ask yourself one question: Should I post this?

As you think about that great picture of your sister with cotton candy all over her face, remember one of the basic rules of social media posting: Do not post a picture of anybody without that person’s permission. That includes your sister. Remember, too, that while you might get a laugh at an embarrassing picture of your brother and his bar-b-que sauce accident, posting that picture could be something you regret for years to come.

Another thought to go over as your fingers find the post icon is this: How many pictures do I post? The answer: As few as possible.

When you send picture after picture after picture after picture, people start to get annoyed. It can also seem a little desperate to load your page with dozens of images from the same place. Better to choose two or three cool shots to post and save the rest to show your close friends when you get home.

When typing text on social media, less is also better. Shorter posts are more likely to be read and less likely to contain detailed, personal details that could be used to harm you or your family.

It’s also more fun to show pictures and describe details in person. Then you can make sure that you only share with friends that are close enough to meet face-to-face. You can see the looks on their faces when you tell them about that awesome midway ride.

Considering that you will have more free time to post on social media, this is a good time to double check your privacy settings. It’s also a good time to go through your “friends” and truly think about who you really—really—know. When you go through the list, you could find people that are complete strangers to you.

Summer is a time when you have more freedom to explore and enjoy the real world. So grab that opportunity. Put down your phone and truly experience your summer vacation. What you do this summer can change how you feel, think and what you do for the rest of your life.

Yes, it’s great to have pictures and share the experience with your “friends.” What’s more important is the way reality can shape who you are. Take it easy on the social media and discover that the most important “posts” are the ones that you carry in your head and your heart and share by how you live.