At Alice PR we are delighted to welcome guest blogger Ana Milicevic, a Transition Year student from Lucan Community College. Ana is blogging on the subject of online safety for teenagers – a subject that has been highlighted in Ireland in the last few weeks following the implementation of ‘Operation Ketch‘ by the Gardai.

Ana recently spent time in Alice HQ as part of her Transition Year Work Experience – she was keen to get a placement in a PR agency as she comes to us with a love for writing and blogging!

Although she hasn’t quite figured out exactly what she wants to do when she leaves school, (she’s torn between psychology, forensic science and art), we think a future in journalism or PR is hers for the taking! Read her blog below…

Internet Safety for Teenagers

The younger generation incorporate social media into their lives almost every day. There are many social media platforms that people use every day to share moments from their lives, post photos or keep in touch with friends.

While social media can be fun and entertaining, it can also be used to do harm. It is important to be careful about what you do online. Most young people are quite informed about how to use social media safely as there are talks given at school on internet safety, however, they may not all be aware of the certain behaviours online or the traps that can be set to lure people in.

People share a lot of information about themselves online, and the amount of information a person shares can sometimes put them at risk by attracting unwanted attention or bullying. If you are experiencing unwanted attention you can block or report users on all social media platforms.

The Irish Times recently reported about a man being jailed for 7 and a half years for “coercing girls to send sexually graphic pictures” to him. He was found in possession of child pornography which he had obtained through apps such as Kik and Snapchat, often by claiming to be a young teenager.

The Late Late Show featured an experiment in which a fake Kik account was set up on a phone, posing as a 13-year-old girl, to investigate what kinds of messages and people a young person can be exposed to. Just 8 minutes after creating the account an inappropriate message was received.

Here are the basics of how to stay safe on the most popular social media platforms:

How to stay safe on Facebook:

Facebook, internet safety teenagers, alice pr, blog, dublinFacebook is commonly used to stay in touch with friends or post pictures. It is important to manage your privacy settings on Facebook, if your profile is on the ‘public’ setting, anyone anywhere can see what you’re posting and sharing. You can easily adjust your privacy options in the settings, and control who you share your content with.

It is recommended that you have the ‘Friends’ option set for your account which will restrict who can see your posts to people who you are friends with on Facebook.

Staying safe on Twitter:

When using Twitter you should reconsider adding your location to photos. Many people think that this is a cool feature, and it can be when used responsibly! Remember, it’s letting everyone out there know exactly where you are.

Twitter also has a privacy option called ‘protect my tweets’, this allows you to filter who views your tweets instead of making everything you tweet public.

Staying safe on Instagram:

Instagram is a photo sharing platform. Leaving your account on public leaves you open to everyone being able to see your posts, where you are, and you never know who’s watching what you post. For this reason, it is probably best you put your account on the private setting so that only the people who follow you can view your posts. This way you have some control over who can view your account.

Staying safe on Snapchat:

snapchat blog internet safety for teenagers, Alice, PR Agency DublinSnapchat is one of the most popular apps for photo sharing and messaging. You can send photos to your friends and control the time limit that they can be viewed for, however, it is important to remember that snaps can be saved. People can screenshot things you send, and you will get a notification if this happens, however, that can also be avoided by turning your phone on aeroplane mode before screenshotting.

For this reason, you should always be careful what kind of photos you send on Snapchat. Never let people force you into sending anything that you don’t want to send. You shouldn’t send things online that you wouldn’t want the world to see.

Here are some tips to help you stay safe online:

  • Only add people that you know on your social media accounts. Be wary of talking to strangers online. If you plan to meet up with someone who you met online make sure to bring a friend with you and meet in a public place.
  • Be careful what you share online. The photos you share online can stay there forever and represent you as a person so you should always be wary of what exactly you are posting and sharing with others online.
  • Don’t be pressured into sending content if you are not comfortable with. Tell a friend or someone you trust if there is someone online making you feel uncomfortable, you can always block the user to stop them from contacting you.
  • Cyberbullying affects many young people today. If you are receiving harmful comments or messages online be sure to talk to someone about it before the situation gets out of hand.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.