Setting up the appropriate safety settings on social media

Here are some basic rules to follow when reviewing privacy settings on social media platforms to support young people. This may be useful to sit down and go through together with your child.

Public vs. private social media accounts

The majority of social media platforms allow you to set your account to private to control who can see what you post however, it’s important to note that there are some sections of profiles that are always public, this could be the profile name or profile picture.
Together with your child, be sure to check what you can and cannot make private on their account to help them stay in control of what other people can see about them.

See our privacy guides to help them manage their privacy settings:

Please note, that most of these platforms will set accounts to public as a default so you have to adjust the privacy settings to change this to private.

What can you control?

Depending on the platform, you can set up pin access, disable location services or create a close friends list so anything your child can share or receive will be from their friends only. If your child is new to social media, be sure to talk to them about who they should add as friends so they stay safe. For those who are already active on social media, encourage them to regularly review their friends list to stay in control who sees what they share.

Do you know where the report and block functions are?

In addition to these report functions, platforms such as Instagram offer additional ways to block certain inappropriate comments appearing on an account by setting filters and additional settings. Be sure to encourage your child to make use of these to manage what they see.
It’s important to also highlight that many of the most popular platforms will use AI machine learning (such as Facebook ) to filter out inappropriate behaviour and content to make the platform safer.

Do you know what behaviour is and isn’t allowed?

All social platforms will have community guidelines detailing what is and isn’t allowed.
It’s a good idea to go through these guidelines with your child to make sure they know what behaviour is and isn’t acceptable on the platform and what the consequences are, if the rules are not followed.
The majority will have strict rules about not posting certain types of content that may cause harm such as cyberbullying and harassment.
Here is a list of the community guidelines from the most popular platforms:

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