Richard Parke
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5 Social Media Safety Tips for Teens

September 4, 2015 1:37 am

With most of their everyday happenings documented through social media, teens and tweens may not understand that sharing can compromise safety. “Conversations about social media are never easy because kids often view posts as casual and delete-able,” says Social Sentinel President and CEO Gary Margolis. “Parents need to help their children make smart decisions about what and where they post, explain the potential risks linked with oversharing and encourage their children to speak up if they run across concerning content.”

Margolis recommends parents impart the following safety tips to their children:

1. Make your profile private.
A public profile may lead to more likes, comments and shares – from people you may not know. Strangers can easily gather a lot of information from public posts, including where you live or go to school, what type of car you drive, who your closest friends are and more.

Be sure to log out of all your social media profiles and Google yourself to see how much information pops up. If you don’t like what you see, change your privacy settings.

2. Don’t add anyone that you haven’t met in person.

Online predators often fake profiles to talk with potential victims, but they will make it seem like they’re just making new friends (i.e., “catfishing”).

Go through your friend or follower list and remove anyone you don’t recognize. If you can’t identify where you met a person in real life, they probably aren’t a “friend.”

3. Disable “Check-In” and geo-tagging features.
These features can let online predators know your exact location, down to the street address. Click on the location symbol on your Instagram profile and zoom in – you may be shocked at how accurate it is.

4. Think before you post.
While some apps claim to be anonymous, or that shared content will disappear after a certain amount of time, remember that anything posted online can be screenshot and shared.

Always assume that what you post online will be permanently accessible. Ask yourself: Would I be okay with a parent, teacher or boss eventually seeing this? Am I sharing sensitive information? Scan your profile to see if your posts pass this question test.

5. Speak up if you see something concerning.
Posts about violence, threats, bullying, suicide and abuse are serious. Tell a parent, teacher or other trusted adult if you think someone in your network needs help or may be in trouble.

Source: Social Sentinel

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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