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Stay safe while using social networks

Henry Elliss
Henry Elliss
Managing Director
18 November 2009

If you listen to BBC Radio 1 at all, you will probably be aware that they’re running a campaign this week called “Bullyproof“, to tie in with national Anti-bullying week here in the UK. As well as some great advice for kids, one of the features on the site is actually very relevant to a much wider audiences – so I thought I’d do something similar here. It might seem like an obvious thing, but knowing what your security settings are set at on your social networks can be crucial in protecting yourself from all sorts of online nasties – from data-miners to cyber-bullies. So here’s our top tips for staying secure on social networks:

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  • If you’re a parent and you have children using Facebook, make sure you’ve visited the Facebook Safety Centre. As well as including a list of useful child-safety related websites, the centre contains answers to a wide range of safety-related questions which parents or their children may have.
  • Anybody who uses Facebook should make sure they have played around with their privacy settings – or at the very least know what they are. You can do this from the Privacy settings page.

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  • The “Safety tips and settings” page on MySpace can be found here, and the site also includes a few tips for parents in how to “start a dialogue” with your child about safety…
  • MySpace also link to a video of a presentation on their “safety efforts”, though watching it leads me to believe this is more ad exercise in proving to the media that they care, than actually being aimed at users…!

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  • The Bebo “Safety Centre” seems to be the most comprehensive of all, with a fun video and a bunch of animations helping users to change their settings.
  • If you’re a Bebo member, you can adjust your privacy settings on the privacy page.

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  • I was surprised and impressed to see that YouTube also have a Safety centre as well – though considering some of the conversations / comments you see in the comment threads of popular videos, this can only be a good thing!

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  • Safety and privacy are covered by a post on the Twitter support blog.
  • My top-tip on Twitter is to regularly check the “connections” tab on your settings page – this allows you to see which applications and sites you have given permission to edit your tweets and settings. If you see something on here that you don’t recognise, remove it!
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