Teens of today have a very high aptitude for the internet and social media – and why shouldn’t they? They’ve been raised with it, and online demographics will only become more common in the future. The number of teenagers in Australia who use social media is equally imposing. Did you know that 75% of teens use Facebook and 70% use Instagram? It’s no wonder today’s teens are so skilled with technology – they’re all using it every day.
Despite this generation being so technologically savvy, there are always going to be potential dangers and risks from being so immersed in a digital environment. Thankfully, there are also ways around these dangers! Setting social media accounts to private is a surefire way to instantly increase your kids’ personal protection on the online sphere.
With so much of what you do being showcased to the world, it’s almost too easy for strangers to stumble onto a public Facebook or Instagram profile. You and your teens might have even done this yourselves – ever looked at a mutual friend’s profile and noticed their photos and information are available to view? Public Facebook accounts allow anyone who searches for your profile to look at most of your photos, likes and posts. On Instagram, public accounts also allow users to look at your full profile and allows them to Direct Message (DM) you. A lack of privacy can lead to more unwanted contact from strangers, to say the least.
Having no privacy settings also allows strangers to locate your or your teen’s whereabouts. Instagram lets users post their location with their uploaded photos,which can sometimes automatically post. This usually depends on whether location settings are turned on. If location settings aren’t turned off, users may unintentionally post their location along with their Sunday night pic for all their friends to see. Activating a private account and turning off location settings can regulate the security of your posts to a much higher degree.
Social media posts can often be embarrassing in later years or lead to serious consequences down the line, particularly in professional circumstances. Just think about the number of public figures who’ve recently lost their jobs or ruined their careers through an old tweet or Facebook photo posted years ago. For example, the director of Marvel film series Guardians of the Galaxy James Gunn was recently fired from Disney Studios after a series of his old offensive twitter updates were exposed. There are also plenty of internet pages displaying the embarrassing statuses and photos people have posted on Facebook. By switching on the privacy settings on each social media platform your teen uses, their digital footprint will automatically be minimised by a large amount. Posts will go out to a lower number of people and this means their exposure to the world online will be narrowed down.
Now that we understand the risks and consequences of sharing on social media publicly, here are the steps you can take to putting your teen’s social media settings on private.
To view or change your current privacy settings on Facebook mobile app, simply:
To ensure location settings are turned off on the Facebook app:
Here’s how you can make your teen’s Instagram account private, meaning they must approve each user who requests to follow them, and they can only send and receive DMs from followers:
To ensure location settings are turned off on Instagram:
To access Snapchat’s privacy settings, you need to:
To turn off location:
This is a newer app taking the globe by storm, which we’ve discussed in detail here. Here’s how you can enable/disable your teen’s TikTok account to private:
In the Privacy and Safety category there are also a bunch of other options you can change, including Who Can Send Me Comments, Who Can React to Me, Who Can Duet With Me, and Who can send me messages. For these options, it is best to select the Friends (Mutual followers) or Off options to limit contact from strangers.
Now that you know how to set your teen’s social media platforms to private, you can open the conversation with them and inform about the risks of using social media publicly as a youth. They might not want everyone to be able to see their posts a few years down the line, and so ensuring they are privatised from the get-go can be beneficial in the long run.
Another thing to inform your teens of is to never give out their passwords to other people – even friends they trust. You never know what another person might post on your account without your permission, and giving friends and strangers your password allows them to do just that under the guide of your teen’s identity. As well as this, let your teens know the importance of only adding people they actually know as ‘friends’ on social media platforms. After all, what’s the point of a private account if you accept strangers as social media followers?
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