How Should I Manage My Social Media Privacy?
Smart phones and social networks can be great tools for catching up with your mates, showing off your selfies and sharing videos of skateboarders epically failing. They can also be the perfect arena for online bullying. With a staggering 40% of UK high school students experiencing online bullying, if you’re suffering you’re far from alone. So how can you protect yourself from this virtual menace? Bullies love to use what you say and do against you so only let the people you trust see the things you post, so get savvy about your privacy settings!
Worried that someone might get hold of intimate photos or videos you've made and use them against you? Check out our article on sexting and revenge porn.
8 Things to remember about social media privacy:
Top tips for earning your anti-bully black belt, whilst avoiding becoming part of the problem...
1. Tell someone
Don’t be a hero – there’s no shame in getting bullies off your back. Telling an adult you trust such as a parent, teacher or tutor can really help and your school or college may have measures in place to tackle online bulling. If it keeps happening, let them know so they can take the appropriate steps.
2. Capture the evidence
Proof is power. If you’re being bullied online, through email or by text, save the messages or screen-grab the page and show it to an adult.
3. Flag the problem
Report the incident to the website, app or network where the bullying took place. Most sites should have measures in place for tackling online abuse.
4. Lay down the law
Whilst there are currently no specific laws against cyber-bullying, some forms of online harassment can be interpreted as threats and the police can take action. If you believe the abuse is serious, you feel like you’re being groomed or that you are in genuine danger, tell the police or report the incident to the CEOP website.
5. Block don’t bite
If possible, block the person bullying you. Don’t retaliate or reply as this can make the problem worse and it might even see you being labelled as a bully yourself. Never feed the trolls!
6. Don’t take real-life risks
If trouble is brewing online, don’t extend it to the real world. Report the problem and capture the evidence rather than risking face-to-face confrontations. This is especially true if you’re getting threats from strangers or grief from adults who are trying to make you do things you’re not comfortable with. If you’re worried for your safety, tell the police.
7. Don’t be part of the problem
If you see someone else being bullied, don’t forward or share the message as you’ll be contributing to the abuse and will be just as bad as the bullies.
8. Think before you post
If you wouldn’t say something to someone’s face in the real world, it’s not OK to say it online.
Is it normal to behave with less sensitivity online than you would in real life?
Privacy Tips for Popular Social Platforms
- Make sure you’ve chosen who can see your future posts. Remember you don’t have to make it public or even available to friends of friends.
- Do you want search engines to link to your profile? It might not be the best idea to have all your online social shenanigans turn up on Google for the world to see.
- Review posts that friends tag you in before they appear on your timeline. It's always better to hide an embarrassing photo from the weekend, or have time to get in touch with the person who posted it, before the image makes its way across everyone’s news-feeds.
- Block users. If someone keeps hassling you via messenger or posting on your wall, remember they don’t have to get any access to you whatsoever.
- Control your visibility. If you don’t want to live for likes or your Instagram is more a narrative of your life than a platform to push out artistic material, then it’s best to only allow those you’ve approved to follow you.
- Report people. If someone is threatening you, report it to Instagram, your parents or a trusted adult. This is especially important if they are trying to reveal photos or videos you want to keep private.
- Be sure to pick a strong and unique password (not just the same one you use for everything).
- Turn on login verification. This is an important feature that can add an extra layer of security if your password or your device is ever compromised.
- Don’t use third-party apps. These aren’t supported by the platform and can play tricks on your security.
- Avoid using Twitter’s geo-tagging feature all the time - unless you want people to know your every move.
- Public tweets are set as the default setting, so opt out if you don’t want your tweets visible to the public.
- Protected tweets will only be visible to your Twitter followers.
- Two-factor authentication makes it extra difficult for anyone other than you to access your account.
- Don’t allow anonymous questions to be posted, this will prevent trollers from hiding behind anonymous profiles.
Take a stand
If you’re worried about cyberbullying or want to find out more about protecting yourself online there are organisations out there that can help.