Staying safe on social media

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By Charlotte Parker 06 Feb 2018
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There's lots of different types of social media, and staying safe is important no matter which one is your favourite. We've had a look at the privacy settings for the most popular ones, and written this guide to help keep you safe while you're using them.

Facebook has its own minefield of settings, so we've written an in-depth Facebook settings guide to help you get to grips with it.

 

Snapchat

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For its standard settings, Snapchat sets your account to 'Friends only' by default. It's a great privacy starting point because it means that only people who have added you back can see your Snaps or send you them. We recommend keeping it like that, because if you change it to 'Anyone', your Snaps are visible to everyone and things could quickly get out of hand.

When Snapchat was first created, the idea was that you could send moments to your friends and they would be deleted as soon as they'd been seen. There's a lot of other apps that will save snaps without the sender being alerted. Don't be complacent. Be careful about what you send, even if you've only got friends on your list.

The final thing you should be aware of is the 'quick add' feature. It lets friends of friends, or people in your contacts list, add you to their list. This can open up your account to random people though, so we'd suggest turning it off in the settings menu.

Recommended minimum age: 13

 

Twitter

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One of the main things that could compromise your safety on Twitter is the location settings. It might seem like a cool feature, but imagine you're in Spain and you send a tweet letting everyone know. You've also told everyone that you're not at home, and since anyone can follow you on Twitter, you could be putting your property at risk. 

Apart from location settings, there's some other privacy settings that you should think about using. One is the 'HTTPS only' option, which will only let you use Twitter on an encrypted connection. This helps protect your login information from being stolen by hackers.

Another option you should use is 'Protect my tweets'. It lets you choose who can see your Tweets, instead of just making them all public.

Your Twitter profile is much more public than something like Facebook, so you should be careful about what you put on it. It's best to leave out any phone numbers, email addresses and other bits of personal information that you don't want other people getting hold of.

The last thing you should check is what third-party apps have access to your Twitter account. In the 'application settings' menu, click 'Revoke access' on any apps you don't recognise.

Recommended minimum age: None

 

Instagram

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Part of the fun for Instagram users is building a big following, which is a good thing for parents and teens to be talking about. You only need to be 13 to sign up for Instagram, so we recommend that parents check their kids' settings or set up the accounts for them. Unfortunately, unless you're going to peer over your child's shoulder, it's quite difficult to monitor what they're looking at.

You might have seen stories in the news recently about drugs and other criminal activities taking place within these sites. 

The best way to make sure they're not up to anything suspicious is to regularly check their account and communications on it.

Instagram has put together a Tips for Parents guide to help you with all the ins-and-outs. It covers all the different security settings that you need to be aware of.

Recommended minimum age: 13

 

Pinterest

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Pinterest might not be as popular as Facebook or Twitter, but it's proving quite lucrative for scammers. Because it doesn't look or feel like other social media networks, scammers seem to be getting away with more than on other sites.

Like everything on the internet, there's risks out there. As long as you are alert while using it, you should be able to stay safe.

If it seems too good to be true... it probably is. Radical new diets promising speedy weight-loss, free £100 gift cards and other giveaways are usually scams. Just a single click and you'll be taken to a third-party site where you'll be asked to either 'fill in a survey for your chance to win', repin the dodgy pin or download something. Sometimes it could be all three. The best thing to do it just stay away from it.

There's the option to collaborate with other users, and sometimes these collaborative boards can fall victim too. The first hint is that you'll see explicit or undesirable content start appearing. Because you've previously contributed to the board, it's linked to your account. This can damage your reputation without you even knowing. The best way to stop this is to only accept invites from people you know and trust.

Recommended minimum age: 13

 

That should be everything you need to know to stay safe while using social media. For more help, contact Team Knowhow Experts.

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