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6 Practical social media safety tips for teens

Social media has earned a bit of a bad reputation for toxicity. Bullying, hate speech and harassment are just some of the concerns. However, as a teen or the parent of a teen, you also know that so much socialising these days is done online.

The good news is that social media can be safe and enjoyable, provided you take some precautions as you post and browse your feeds and timelines. Alcatel offers some practical social media safety tips for teens.

  1. Think before you post

Once you post something on social media, it is there forever, even if you shared only with your friend or follower network. A comment or joke that could be perceived to be discriminatory or an embarrassing photo or video could follow you for years. Think carefully about what you post—and also respect your friends’ privacy boundaries.

  1. Report and block

Social networks have strong rules against cyber-bullying, sexual harassment, hate speech, racism, sexism, explicit media and other dangerous behaviours and content. You can report people, posts or photos that break these rules. You can also block people who harass you or post content that upsets you.

  1. Use the privacy settings

On most social media apps, you can adjust the privacy settings on your social media platforms to control who sees your information, location, photos and videos. This way, you can ensure only friends and family have access to your words, images and videos. That said, still be careful. You can’t stop someone else from sharing your info more widely.

  1. Don’t share personal info

Given that you can’t 100%-control who sees and shares information from your social media feed, it’s best not to share personal info like your location, phone number, email address, bank account details or physical address on social media.

  1. Don’t accept random friend or DM requests

There is a lot of fraud and harassment in the online world, so you want to be careful about who you allow into your friends network. It isn’t always easy to tell whether someone who sends a direct message or friend request is trustworthy. It’s best to accept requests only from people you know in the real-world, or who have friends in common with you and legit-looking profiles.

  1. Use a strong password

You should use strong, unique passwords on each of your social media accounts. Go for at least 16 characters with a mixture of lower- and upper-case letters, numbers, and special characters. It’s hard to remember these complex passwords—so maybe use a password manager to help. Also, enable two-factor authentication on your accounts, so that someone would need an SMS pin or authenticator app to log into your accounts, even if they somehow get your password.

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