Sep 20, 2012— read in full
Staying safe online: Social networking
Some of us have a lot to say and the net is a great way to get our views heard. But what happens when things go wrong?
Whether you are receiving spam emails, are worried about downloading viruses or think your chatroom friend may be lying about their age, read on for advice on staying in control while online.
This brilliant gadget helps you chat to your friends in real time whenever you’re online. However, beware the pitfalls:
- Make sure the people on your contact list are people you really know in the real world as some people you meet online may not be who they say they are.
- If you are added to a stranger’s contact lists, make sure you block them so that they can’t see when you’re logged on.
- If you add someone and decide afterwards you don’t want them on your list you can delete them too.
- Don’t give away too much information about yourself in your profile. Your friends will already know your school, address and hobbies.
- Avoid using an actual photo of you for your profile. This could attract unwanted attention from strangers who may have wormed their way onto your contact list.
- Webcams are great for seeing your mates when you’re chatting. But, remember images can be recorded, copied and shared with other people you don’t know. Avoid using webcams with people you don’t know.
- Privacy settings. You can change your settings so that only approved friends can message you.
- If you think the person you are chatting to on IM is pretending to be someone else to try to trick you, tell an adult or report them to the Customer Experience Improvement Programme.
What you publish online could potentially be viewed by anyone, so consider carefully what you write.
- Limit the information you give out. You don’t know what people will do with your picture or phone number if you give it out by mistake. Also, if you’re planning an event, don’t give out too many details, unless you want your party to be crashed by strangers.
- Don’t use your own picture. Opt for a graphic or silly pic. That way a stranger won’t be able to recognise you.
- Think before you write. It may seem a good idea to slag off work or school or reveal your darkest secrets. But, remember who can see it: your boss, girlfriend, boyfriend or parent?
- Don’t accept people you don’t know into forums or private chat areas. Just because they’re a friend of a friend of a friend, doesn’t make them your friend!
- If you feel someone is acting strangely or that you are being bullied, contact the administrator. In severe cases, you might want to stop using the site altogether.
Follow these top tips for general online safety:
- Check out the privacy settings and ensure you are happy with them before signing up.
- If you’re not sure, get a second opinion from a friend or family member to check you’re not giving too much info, which could be misused online.
- Don’t tell anyone your password.
- Be nice online. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t like if it was about you. Cyberbullying is not acceptable. If you are a victim of cyberbullying, don’t reply, report it to the service operator and keep evidence by taking a screenshot of the page.
- If you have a bad experience online, report it to the service provider or tell an adult.