Do you know your Facebook from your Twitter? How about your data from your privacy settings? Elizabeth Keeling explains all.

Over the past ten years, social media has grown from a little-known youth phenomenon to an everyday essential.

Whilst ‘internet safety’ and ‘cyberbullying’ are taught as compulsory topics in schools, adults lack the education to become totally internet savvy.

According to ‘Avocado Social’ with 79% of adults in the UK using Facebook daily, you should know that social media does not just exist in cyberspace and can have real world consequences for you and those you love.

But never fear – After reading these seven tips and tricks you will be a total social-media swat!

Keep it private, don’t argue

1. Keep your privacy settings on
You wouldn’t leave your front door unlocked, or hang pictures of your ‘girl’s weekend away’ from 2010 outside your house. But leaving your profile set to ‘public’ on Facebook is doing just that.
Public means anyone can see what you post, like or comment, and all of your personal information. I don’t need to tell you that this is a very bad idea, therefore, switch you profile to ‘Friends only’ on Facebook.

It’s also worth remembering: when your friends like your posts, the posts they have liked appear on their friends timelines, and they could like that post which could appear on their friends timelines etc, so be careful about what you post.
Remember – if you wouldn’t want your significant other, boss or your parents seeing it, don’t post it!

2. Be courteous to others online
Opinion in the room – people have different opinions to you, and that is completely fine!
Not agreeing on everything or anything is a fundamental part of human nature. Unfortunately however, many people on social media seem to forget this as soon as they log on, and full blown arguments are often seen on in ‘comment’ sections, over simple disagreements.

Additionally, many people delete or report posts they find disagree with their personal opinion.

Users should be courteous when engaging with others, and be mindful of potential disagreements being blown out of proportion online.

Furthermore, adults arguing online just looks plain daft.

3. Watch what you complain about!
You may hate your job, but Facebook doesn’t need to know that, nor does your new boss.
Social media is not anonymous. Anyone can save what you post, and send it to your employer. While you may think you can delete this, you have no control over what other people screenshot.
This can obviously result in terrible consequences, such as you losing your job. Therefore, if you wouldn’t say it to your boss, don’t say it to Facebook.

Be picture safe

4. Be aware of who you are posting
Children often find baby pictures embarrassing when only the family have seen them, imagine the embarrassment when they discover the entirety of Facebook has seen them!
On a serious note, posting photos of children online opens a pandora’s box of problems. From others being able to build a digital profile of your child from potentially as soon as they were born, to embarrassment and more serious legal issues such as identity theft and peodophilia, your photos have real life consequences.
The best thing to do is post very few or no photos of children’s faces on social media. An occasional post is fine, but the less pictures there are, the less risk is posed to you and your child.

In addition to this, new EU Law introduced in the summer makes it illegal to take or post pictures of people without their explicit written or spoken permission. This consent can also be withdrawn at any time. So, if someone asks you to remove a picture of them – take it down.

Would you like it?

5. Is it kind, is it true, and would you like it posted about you?
‘Cyberbullying,’ is becoming a media buzzword, but it is increasingly on the rise amongst adults who don’t even realise they’re doing it. A US study from Comparitech found 40% of adults are victims of cyberbullying.
Cyber-bullying is defined as online harassment or bullying. Therefore, anything said online that can be viewed as unkind, un-true or potential harmful classes as cyberbullying.
If you think something said on social media classes as ‘Cyber-bullying’, report the post or comment, and do not get involved.
As adults often tell their children: Be an upstander, not a bystander!

Ah, got you there!
Often, advertisements or ‘pop ups’ will appear on social media with titles such as this. This is known as ‘click-bait’ and it is designed to make you click on the advert, in order for you to be taken to a different page. While some of these are genuine, many are not, and can result in your data, money or personal details being stolen.
So, when it comes to ‘click-bait’ apply the golden rule – if it looks too good to be true, it usually is. Don’t click!

7. You will (not) be deleted.
Everything on the internet is there forever. Think of every post as a permanent edition to your digital record. While you may be able to delete a post or message from your page, others can take screenshots or save information you have previously posted, which can surface at any time or in any situation.

Don’t be scared

While this may sound scary, use social media responsibly and you will be fine!

Happy Scrolling!


Post by Elizabeth Keeling

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