Safer Social Networking: What to look for in a good social networking site

Social media is here to stay, whether you are on Facebook, Google+ or any other popular social networking site you should think about privacy and safety.

Read the Terms and Conditions – What limits do they set? Do they restrict age? Do they reinforce privacy measures and are they easy to understand? Do you know what you are agreeing to? READ THEM!

Privacy Settings

The settings on good sites will be easy to understand and access. They will allow you to protect your privacy by allowing you to decide who sees what?

If they don’t, DON’T USE THE SITE unless you are prepared for anyone to see what you say, where you are and what you are doing.

Blocking

Good social networking sites will have easy blocking mechanisms that allow you to stop someone following or engaging with you if you don’t want them too.

Blocking buttons should be easy to see and use and most social networking sites provide this function for all users.

Moderation

Good social networking sites will provide some type of moderation. This might be human oversight or built in systems that identify abusive language and/or inappropriate content.

Check whether the sites you use are moderated. All children’s sites should be moderated.

Reporting

Good social networking sites will have a well-resourced reporting function. The button should be easy to access and use. If you cannot see it, it is no use to you. Check the site. A reporting button is only as good as the system and people behind it.

If you make a report and don’t receive a reply within a reasonable time you might want to think about whether the site takes safety seriously. Good sites will reply promptly.

Safety Centres

Well-established sites will provide access to a safety center where you can access advice on best practice, how to make the best use of the site and how to keep yourself and young users safe.

Some sites will provide access to third party support such as charities or organizations like CEOP, NCMEC in the US and the Virtual Global Taskforce site. Providing access to these sites is a positive safety measure and indicates a commitment to facilitating external support when necessary.