Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn are incredibly popular among Canadian Internet users. Social networking may be fun and convenient, but they can be dangerous too - teens and young adults are especially susceptible to the dangers they present.
If you’ve been a victim of crime, please see how to report online crime.
Protecting yourself on social media
The first and most important rule of social media is this: Don’t post anything you wouldn’t be comfortable with having the whole world see. Sure, you can delete things after you post them, but don’t count on this as a safeguard as not everything can be fully erased. Check your privacy settings on whatever social media sites you use and make sure you’re not broadcasting personal information unintentionally.
If you’re involved in online dating, be especially careful. Never give out too much information to strangers - protect your phone number, address or workplace. Always be skeptical of everything you read and when meeting for dates, make sure you’re in a safe public location.
Protecting your kids on social media
Social networking sites can be really beneficial to kids, but before you let yours sign up, help your children understand the risks. Children can hurt themselves when they reveal too much information and inappropriate pictures, videos, and conversations posted online may come back to haunt them. You should sign an online family agreement with your children.
Excessive internet use (also known as Internet addiction) is a very real concern among kids and adults. Visit MediaSmarts to find out how you can deal with an internet addiction.
According to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, social networking and other online services have become the top source of privacy issues for their office. For more information on how social networking websites create privacy risks for Canadians please visit the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Visit Be Web Aware for information on how to safeguard your privacy.