Social networking safety tips

  • Facebook games can invite unwanted software
  • You can change privacy settings
  • Like real life, participation with your child is key

 To coincide with National Cyber Security Awareness Week, Compare Broadband has compiled some tips and tricks to ensure you and your child are protected when it comes to sharing information on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

Social networking sites create an interactive virtual space where you and your children can connect with family and friends. They’re an excellent tool for keeping in touch with people, even if they are geographically far away. Many sites allow you to share information, photos, videos, sound files and links. You should only sign up to social networking sites with strong privacy and security policies in place.

In this article we focus on the ways you and your child can ensure you share information responsibly, and adhere to safe social networking practices which do not lead to offline danger or negative consequences.

Who can view your profile and other information?

Popular social networking sites have detailed privacy settings so that you can control who can view your profile and the degree of information others can see. Make sure your child’s profile is set to “Friends only,” and that they are selective about who they accept as friends on the site.

On Facebook you can navigate to the privacy settings by pressing on “Account,” then “Privacy Settings.” You can also register your child as an underage Facebook user. Ensure you are satisfied with settings that relate to who can view each photo album or where your child has “checked-in.”

Preview your profile

On social networking sites like Facebook, privacy settings can become so complex it can be difficult to understand which content can be viewed by whom. There are functions however, which allow you to view you or your child’s social networking page as if you were either a friend of theirs or you can view it as a public user.

To do this on Facebook, navigate to the privacy settings and ‘view settings,’ and click the “Preview of my profile” button up the top.

Think before you post and share

Parents and children should remember that as soon as you have posted something online, it can generally be accessed by others straight away. You should assume that whatever is posted on a social networking site, it is permanent. Before you post anything, ensure that it doesn’t reveal any personal details like your address, phone number or school. This could include information about events and parties your child may be attending.

You can also delete posts from others which appear on your profile, so delete any inappropriate content here as well. Make sure any photos you share you’d also be happy to share with people face-to-face as well.

Teens should know not to share their account passwords with anyone, even with friends.

Report/block inappropriate content and behaviour

If you view an image which is inappropriate, social networking sites such as Facebook allow you to report it to moderators with the click of a button. If the site deems the image to be inappropriate, it will be removed.

If your child has received threatening or inappropriate messages, tell them to ignore them. You can also block other people from contacting you. Speak to your child and let them know they should tell a trusted adult if they receive any threatening messages.

Share the online world with your child

Make sure you speak to your child about using social networking sites, and that they feel comfortable with online safety. They should be aware what information shouldn’t be shared. It may be a good idea to keep your home computer in a shared space like the lounge room so you can share the experience with them.