If you have a social networking profile, remember to keep yourself safe and watch your space. Here are some tips:
If people can post comments on your profile, check them regularly. Don’t reply to comments that annoy you or make you angry. Stay in control, delete them, block the person, and report them to the website owner.
Use nicknames or first names on your profile so that friends can find you. It’s not a good idea to give away online who you are and where you are at the same time. Sometimes online relationships go wrong; in those cases you’ll be the one in charge if you haven’t revealed all your personal details. If you give out your address or talk about where you hang out in your blog, it could make it easier for people to find you.
As you know, people you meet online are not always who they seem to be. Be careful about getting together with someone you “met” online unless you are certain of their identity. If you do meet them arrange the meeting in a public place and bring some friends along. Be sure not to bring just one friend with you as you might then be responsible for putting them at risk. Don’t be a victim.
Many sites allow you to decide which parts of your profile can be accessed by others. Assume that everything is public unless you are sure that it isn’t. Opting for private doesn’t always mean that only your friends can see your profile. In some cases, everything you put on your profile can be seen by everyone but only your friends can post comments or IM you.
The laws of physics tell us that what goes up must come down. Not on the internet! What you upload can be downloaded by anyone, altered, and passed around or posted online pretty much forever. Once you upload a photo, you’ve lost control over where it appears, who sees it, and what happens to it. Try it yourself, right-click on any picture on the internet and choose “Save Picture As”… to see how easy it is.
Try and be selective about who you become friends with, you can tell a lot about someone by the company they keep. Even though they are called friends, people you ‘add’ are little more than acquaintances, nobody has 500 friends..
Remember, anything you post can not only be seen by others but can easily be copied and stored. Your photos and blogs might be getting you noticed in a way that you didn’t intend.
This content has been provided by the National Centre for Technology in Education. The National Centre for Technology in Education is an Irish Government agency established to provide advice, support and information on the use of information and communications technology (ICT) in education.