Personal Space

Facebook, Twitter & Instagram

Social media is the interaction among people in which they create, share or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. It includes Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Research by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) shows young people use the web—and social media—a lot. For example:
  • Young people aged 14-17 have the highest rate of internet use
  • Chatting to friends is the main reason 16-17 year olds use the internet.
  • Social media is more popular among teenage girls
  • More than two in three 14-17 year olds consider the internet to be either ‘very' or ‘extremely' important to them
  • More than 75% of young adults consider a mobile phone to be ‘very' or ‘extremely' important to them by the time they are 16-17 years old.
Using social media is a fun and relaxing activity, and a great way to communicate with friends and family, but remember that what you do online can end up affecting your life—not just now but well into the future. Getting tagged in a photo could end up tagging you for life.

It’s important to keep yourself and your future safe by learning how to protect yourself online.

Using social media sites safely

Realise people you chat with may not be who they say they are.
  • Refuse requests for personal information and ensure your internet profile is private.
  • Review your contacts. Don't accept contact requests from people you don't know.
  • Respond quickly if you ever feel uncomfortable while on-line. Close the program, tell your parents or a trusted friend.
  • Report any suspicious or dangerous on-line contact to the police.
  • Never give out personal information like your name, address, phone number or school.
  • Make sure your screen name or profile doesn’t reveal personal information about you.
Only allow your friends to view your profile or blog.
  • Never send your picture to someone you don’t know.
  • Don’t accept invitations to use webcams with people you don’t know.
  • Never arrange to meet someone in person that you met online.
  • Be aware that predators may ask you personal questions as they attempt to become your friend quickly.
  • Chatting to a person online, even if it’s a lot, is not the same as knowing someone in person and you shouldn’t give them your trust.
Source: Queensland Government

Advice for parents
The boom in social media has led to the subsequent misuse of innocent social tools by predators and bullies. As a result there is a chance, albeit small that your teenagers photos and personal information will fall into the wrong hands.

Of course, you cannot protect them from everything and they will be exposed to things that we would rather they weren’t. The best approach is to teach your children the importance of being safe online. They get driving lessons to protect them on the road; they learn fire safety to keep from getting burned. Teach them Internet safety to protect their future.

Provide them the tools

The best thing you can do is provide them the tools to deal with it and let them know the best way that they can protect themselves.

Work with your teen to come up with a good screen name. Pick one that can be identifiable as them and is as unique as they are. Ensure that it’s not a screen name that will haunt their future. They don’t need to put their real information out there.

Privacy settings

Ensure that your teen’s profile and photos aren’t out there for everyone to look at. If their profile isn’t on private then switch it over. This will ensure that only approved friends will see the photos.

Location settings
Turn off the Geo-tagging or Location of photos; that way even if a photo gets out to the public, hopefully no one knows where your child is.

Accepting followers

If they don’t know who the person is in real life, then they probably shouldn’t accept them as a follower.

Avoid portraits

Teens are a vain lot, but try to discourage them from posting photos of themselves or their friends. If there aren’t photos out there, they can’t slip out.

Continue to talk to your children about what they are posting and what they are allowed to post. Encourage them to talk to their friends about appropriate posting and their own privacy settings.
Your teen may do everything correctly, but all it takes is a careless friend and that beach photo could end up public.

Source: Australian Government and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

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