Go over the privacy settings of your social media accounts

Social media apps have a variety of technical possibilities to configure your account and profile and to report issues. It is important to go over the privacy settings of your social media accounts and configure them so that you have more control over who sees your posts and who can comment on them.

You can make your account private, which means that your photos and videos are only visible to people you have given permission to.  If you have made your account private, every new user who is not your follower has to ask permission to see your photos and videos. Whether you allow it or not is up to you.

In addition, you can change who can tag and mention you. To protect your privacy, we recommend that you do not share your location data. However, it is worth noting that all users can see your profile picture, username and usually also the information you have on your profile, so you should think about what you put out there. For example, you should not share your address or phone number there.

When you post, remember that everyone who sees it can save and share the post at any time. So it is important to think about the information you want to share about yourself and others, and whether you want to share your posts with all your contacts or with a certain group. Respect the privacy of others as well and do not share their data without their consent. Go over your posts from time to time and delete the older ones.

Use two-factor authentication and longer and more complex passwords when logging into the main social media apps, and if you use shared devices or someone else’s device, log out after you are done. This prevents others from accessing your account.

Also read the terms of use of the social media apps you are using. If a user has broken the rules (eg if someone is bullying or posts something malicious or illegal), you can report it in the app. For reporting, all apps have either a form to fill in or they ask you to send them an email. Make sure to attach screenshots of what happened. Do not be alone with your worries – talk to an adult you trust. You can always ask for advice and help from the child helpline at 116111 (or chat at www.lasteabi.ee) or web-police.

The article was written by Kerli Valner, communication manager of the Smartly on the Web project, Estonian Union for Child Welfare.

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