How to keep your teens safe on social media? Control group

Teens share a wide range of information about themselves on social media sites; indeed the sites themselves are designed to encourage the sharing of information and the expansion of networks. However, few teens embrace a fully public approach to social media, which they often don’t realize can threaten their own safety.

After taking this course, you will be able to understand better what your teen does on social media and how to help them keep safe online.

Check your prior knowledge on social media privacy.

Which of the following practices can threaten your teen's safety on Twitter?

  • Adding a location to the tweets
  • Blocking the tweets to be viewed by the public
  • Posting pictures

Mark the following statements as true or false.

  • The things you put online are not permanent.

Mark the following statement as true or false.

  • On most of the social media, I can decide who can access my personal information such as my birthday or address.

Mark the following statement as true or false.

  • Using third-party applications can decrease your level of safety.

Mark the following statement as true or false.

  • Facebook's privacy policy states that it does NOT share your information with its third-party vendors.

Mark the following statement as true or false.

  • Social media platforms have to notify you anytime they want to share or sell your account information with third-party vendors.

Which proportion of the 13-17 years old use at least one social media?

  • 58%
  • 67%
  • 73%

What is the proportion of teens who have given out personal info to someone they don't know, including photos and physical descriptions?

  • 21%
  • 33%
  • 55%

What percentage of teens have had private or embarrassing info made public without their permission?

  • 16%
  • 19%
  • 24%

What is the proportion of teens who have given out personal info to someone they don't know, including photos and physical descriptions?

  • 33%
  • 45%
  • 55%

How many teens have been stalked or contacted by a stranger or someone they don't know?

  • 18%
  • 29%
  • 37%

End of Section 1

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How to keep your teens protected on social media ?

Some statistics about Teens and Social Media.

6 statistics on teenagers and social media


  • 73% of the 13-17 years old have at least 1 social media account.
  • 55% have given their personal information to someone they don't know (including photos and physical description)
  • 24% of teens have had private information or embarrassing information made public without their permission. 
  • 29% have been stalked or contacted by a stranger or someone they don't know.
  • 29% of teens have posted mean information, embarrassing photos or spread rumors about someone.
  • 67% of teenagers say they know how to hide what they do online from their parents.

Importance of Privacy in a Technology-Driven World.

Social Media provides a way of connecting in the digital world, but it can also provide people access to lots of information about you if you are not careful.

Bad things could happen if you do not tailor your privacy settings. By letting complete strangers access private information and details about you, you could put yourself or your relatives in awkward or dangerous situations.

Before We Start: What is your Digital Footprint?

Go search yourself! 

In today’s world, we all have a digital footprint and we are going to run a little test before we get started with the majority of our tips and help today. Although you may not have done this before, go to a search engine and type your name!

In all likelihood, you will see your name and perhaps even some details about yourself and this can be quite shocking at first. With just one search online, people can see a good amount of detail about you and among the list of potential searchers are employers, mortgage lenders, and more. With this in mind, you probably want to increase the security around your digital footprint, right? If so, keep reading because we have superb information today!


Top 8 Social Media Privacy Tips.

1. Always take the time to learn the privacy policies on the sites you use regularly. Normally, the companies will update the terms of service and privacy policies often so read them regularly and look at the updates too.

2. After this, take a look through the privacy settings on social media sites and see what you can and can’t control. For example, the ‘Friends Only’ feature allows you to hide all posts from strangers.

3. If you plan on entering your birth information as well as your birthplace, phone number, email address, or anything else, assess the privacy settings so this information cannot be seen by all. Don’t publicize vacation plans, especially the dates you’ll be travelling. If you use a location-aware social network, don’t make public where your home is because people will know when you are not there.

4. Change your mindset because everything you post online will stay online forever; no longer are your comments or posts restricted to your ‘friends’ just as they are in a casual conversation at work. Whenever you post online, consider whether you would be happy for your mother or boss to see it. If not, perhaps you should reconsider. Even after you delete a post, it can still be seen so adopt a completely new mindset.

5. If you’re planning on going away within the next few weeks, do not publicize your plans if you are leaving a house unattended for the duration of your trip. Although you might want to keep friends updated, you are essentially offering all local burglars the chance to take advantage of an empty house.

6. Every so often, take a look through your ‘friends’ list and remove anyone you don't speak with or you don’t really know outside of social media. When your ‘friends’ are actually all real-life friends, you have a better chance of staying secure. 

7. Nowadays, there are a whole host of third-party apps - such as Hootsuite - that want access to your social media profiles so be careful. If you want to remain as safe as possible, restrict apps’ access to your social media profiles completely and use their desktop platforms instead. On your browser, be sure to remove cookies regularly as this should prevent pop-up windows and other problems. When it comes to pop-ups themselves, just avoid them altogether; even it shows an offer for your favorite store, close the window and check the real website to be sure.

8. Finally, remember that there are people out there looking to make your day go from good to bad. Through a computer screen, they don’t care about you or anybody else so using common sense will always be important.

Check your Privacy Settings.

Nowadays, sites like Facebook and Twitter are more secure than ever before and this is due to the billions of users they now have bringing heavy investment in this area. However, this isn't to say that horror stories don’t exist so we always suggest looking over your privacy settings.

When looking, answer the question ‘how much are you happy for people to see or know about you?’. After this, you can look into whether you want old school friends to see less than family members. Furthermore, you should also assess how you see the platform; is it strictly for personal use or will it also play a role in your professional life? Once you have these answered, you will find it easier to find the right settings and we have broken it down by platform below!

Instagram - Firstly, we have the image-sharing app of Instagram and this is one that has exploded in recent times. Just like Twitter, you can link your account to other social media accounts and hashtags are also used to improve visibility across the world. Before posting anything, take a look through the privacy settings and adjust them to your preference.

Facebook - Over the past decade, this has been one of the biggest platforms in the world and they have a feature called ‘Privacy Checkup’. Here, you can answer some simple questions and this will adjust your privacy settings depending on your answers. At any time, you can also access the standard settings from the lock icon located at the top of the screen.

Twitter - So you are used to sending tweets to your friends, but are you sure where they are going and who can see them? After clicking on your profile picture on the top bar, select ‘Settings’ and you can adjust whatever you desire within seconds. On the whole, they are similar to Facebook but we have highlighted a couple down below;

Privacy - Here, you can protect your tweets from anyone who isn't a follower of yours. If you only want your followers to see your tweet and not every user in the world, this is the one for you.

Location - If your location is activated on Twitter, it will be linked to every single tweet you make. Therefore, you can keep this private by turning the option off. Whenever you have it ticked, you should understand the consequences and be comfortable with people seeing your location.

Thirdly, there is a lesser-known setting called ‘HTTPS Only’ and this will allow your information to only be accessed via a secure connection. Essentially, this means you won’t be leaving traces of data wherever you go and it will keep you protected from unsecured locations.

LinkedIn - Aimed towards the business market more than anything else, LinkedIn allows professional networks and relationships to be created and you can find the settings from the appropriate drop-down menu after first clicking on your profile picture at the top. Once again, you will see more of the generic options found on most social networking sites but you will also find others.

Profile - With this section, you can select what shows in your activity feed as well as what is found in your profile. Nowadays, there is extensive customization in place so you can really refine your settings.

Communications - Are you interested in receiving communication attempts? Who do you want to send you invitations and who can reach out to you? In the communications section, you can answer these questions and more.

Account - If you’re interested in hiding certain pieces of personal information, this is the place to do it. For example, you might want to hide your name and address and this can be done with ease.

Extras - After this, you will have various smaller sections such as applications, groups, and companies where you can adjust the settings for your groups and so on.


Stay Safe 

Today, the internet can be a dangerous place but only if you fail to protect yourself. By checking the privacy settings, you can get peace of mind that your posts are only seen by those you wish to see them. Don’t forget, there are various other features to keep you protected such as blocking and reporting. If you feel vulnerable or have an issue at any point, make use of these functions and contact the social media site directly.

As long as you follow the tips above, you can stay safe and enjoy social media the way it should be enjoyed!

End of section 2

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Check if your knowledge improved!

Which of the following practices can be threaten your teen's safety on Twitter?

  • Adding a location to the tweets
  • Posting pictures
  • Blocking the tweets to be viewed by the public

Mark the following statements as true or false.

  • The things you put online never disappear.

Mark the following statement as true or false.

  • On most of the social media, I can customize who can access my personal information such as my birthday or address.

Mark the following statement as true or false.

  • Using third-party applications can decrease your level of safety.

Mark the following statement as true or false.

  • Facebook's privacy policy states that it does NOT share your information with its third-party vendors.

Mark the following statement as true or false.

  • Social media platforms don't need to notify you anytime they want to share or sell your account information with third-party vendors.

Which proportion of the 13-17 years old use at least one social media?

  • 58%
  • 67%
  • 78%

The proportion of teens who have given out personal info to someone they don't know, including photos and physical descriptions is...

  • 21%
  • 33%
  • 55%

_______% of teens have had private or embarrassing info made public without their permission.

  • 16%
  • 19%
  • 24%

Which proportion of teens have posted mean info, embarrassing photos or spread rumors about someone?

  • 29%
  • 17%
  • 34%

The percentage of teens who have been stalked or contacted by a stranger or someone they don't know is...

  • 18%
  • 29%
  • 37%

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