Social Media

What is Social Media and Networking?

Social networking is a global revolution, enabling billions of people worldwide to stay in touch with their friends, share experiences, photographs, and exchange content. In many ways, it has replaced the telephone and email. For many users, it has become a way of life.

Ready for Social Media?

Want to stay in touch with your friends online? You probably know there are lots of social networking websites and mobile apps that people use to chat, comment, share pictures, and game with their friends. You probably also know that for most of these sites, like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you need to be at least 13 years old to sign up. For some, like Whatsapp, you need to be even older. If you 're under 13 you shouldn't be using them - you'll be breaking their rules and could be putting yourself at risk.

Why?

There are lots of reasons why these sites can be unsafe for young people, even those over 13, so it's essential that you don't use them until you know how to do so safely. Remember - there's no rush to start social networking, and there are plenty of other ways to stay in touch with your friends, chat, and game until you're ready to use them safely. If you're already using social networks, make sure you know what the risks are and what you can do to be safer.

Posting Pictures and Videos

Years ago most people only took a camera on special occasions like parties or holidays. Now we carry cameras all the time - on our phones. You can take some snaps or shoot video anywhere and share them online in no time. Photos and videos can be a great way to show your friends what you're up to.

But remember, it can be really hards, sometimes impossible, to delete pictures or videos from the internet or other people's mobiles. Once you've shared something online or on your mobile you've lost control of it - it can be copied, shared, and even edited.

If you send an embarrassing picture or video to a friend, it could end up anywhere. If you post it online anyone could see it, including your parents, teachers, or future employers. Remember - it's never too late to get help if you've shared something you regret. You can report photos and videos to the websites they are on or seek help from an adult you trust.

What's wrong with this picture?

Sharing pictures and videos can be a great way of telling your story but always think before you share. Want to post that funny photo? Ask yourself these five questions first:
  1. Have I got permission?
    If you've taken a picture or video of your friends or family have you got their permission to post it online? Could it upset or embarrass them? If you were them, would you want it shared? If you think the answer might be no, then go and ask them or don't post it at all.
  2. Would I put it on a billboard?
    Would you be happy for the picture to be put on a  billboard so anyone - including your mom, dad, or teacher - could see it? If the answer is no, then don't post it.
  3. Who am I sharing with?
    Are you sending it to a friend, someone you met online or posting it for everyone to see? Remember, if you've only met someone online they might not be who they say they are. They could copy, edit, or share your picture with anyone.
  4. What do I look like?
    Photos and videos are a great way of sharing what you're up to with your friends but, remember, anything you post online could be there forever. We all do silly things sometimes, but if we capture them on camera, they can affect the way people think about us in the future. If you're not sure, they paint a positive picture of you (or your friends) then think twice before posting.
  5. I did not want to see that.
    Anyone can post videos, pictures, or ideas on social networks - nice or nasty. That means you might see things you wish you hadn't. 

Lost Control of a Picture or Video?

It's easy to share more than you meant to but remember it's never too late to take control. Five ways to take control:
  1. Take the picture or video down.
    Sounds obvious but if you posted it to a website the fastest way to get it down is to remove it yourself. Log on to the site and delete it.
  2. Ask others to delete it.
    If someone else has posted it, ask them to take it down from the site. If they won't do it, speak to an adult you trust.
  3. Report it to the website.
    If it's been posted on a website like Facebook or YouTube you can make a report to the site to ask them to take it down. Most sites have rules to stop people from posting embarrassing or hurtful pictures. You can find out how to make a report to Facebook or YouTube here. Find out how to report other sites here.
  4. Get help if you're being bullied
    If people are being mean about a picture or sharing a video to embarrass you, talk to an adult you trust.
  5. Report if you're being threatened.
    If someone is threatening to share a picture or video of you that you don't want other people to see, talk to an adult you trust or report to the police. Whatever may happen, the police will understand. You won't be in trouble.
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