Most social networking sites, like Facebook, now give you a lot of control over what you share and who you share it with. Through a site’s ‘privacy settings’ you are able to control:
- Who can search for you – this means that when people search your name on a site, your profile does not come up.
- Who sees what – this means that you can control the information you share, like your photos or ‘wall’ posts. You can usually restrict this to friends only, friends of friends, certain groups of friends, or everyone. We would recommend that for young people it is restricted to friends only.
- Who can post information about you – some sites enable others to ‘tag’ photos of you or share other information about you, like your location. Many sites enable you to restrict people’s ability to do this.
- How to report an issue - contact the website provider. Click here for advice on how to do this.
You have to be 13 to set up an account. There are child protection settings automatically set up for 13-16 year olds. If you have lied about your age, your account may not have these protections in place.
Twitter is a social broadcast network for sending short messages. Most 'Tweets' (messages) are viewable by everyone. Even if you protect your account so that only certain users can 'follow' your messages, they can openly 'retweet' them to anyone.
SnapChat is a way to send quick messages to followers including text, images, and video. Minimum age is 13. Followers receive the message for 10 seconds and it then disappears. However, they can take a screenshot to copy the image before it disappears.
Snapchat has just launched a new feature called the Snap Map which allows you to see your contacts on a map based on their location. Through the Snap Map, users can broadcast their exact location with everyone in their contact list. Information on how to combat location sharing via Snapchat is available below.
Ask.fm allows anyone to post anonymous comments and questions to a person's profile and is increasingly being used as a means to communicate abusive, bullying and sexualised content.
FaceTime and Skype
These apps allow users to communicate online via text, audio and even video. This is like allowing them into your home. It is important to consider who you can invite in, when they can visit and what you can share.