Social Media Safety

The Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners has provided these safety tips regarding the use of social media like Facebook and Twitter.

 Social Network Statistics

 Social media sites account for 22.7% of the time Americans spend on the internet.¹

  • 67% of adults between ages 18-29 use a social media site.²
  • 17% of adults use their profile to communicate with people they don’t know.³
  • Nearly half of all adults who have a current social network profile leave privacy settings open so anyone can see their profile.³
  • 84% of teens have a social network profile.
  • 92% of teens are social media friends with people they don’t know well, if at all.
  • Almost half of teens who are social network users offer open access to their online profile information. 4  

 Safety for Children 

  • Monitor your child’s online activity—how long they are online, sites they visit, what they post.
  • Make sure photos teens post are not provocative.
  • Teach your child to use privacy controls or anyone can see the information, including college admissions offices.
  • Social networks are not for kids under the age of 14.
  • Go online and get an account for yourself using the same social network as your kids, and have your kids link to you so you can monitor what they’re doing and saying.
  • Keep the computer in a family room or kitchen, not your child’s room.
  • Set ground rules for what is and isn’t appropriate to communicate or post online.
  • Parents can teach online safety to their kids through NetSmartz. This program is available
  • online and at your library.

 Safety for Adults 

  • Understand the social network’s security settings and use them.
  • Share information only with online friends.
  • Only friend people who are actually friends or family in real life.
  • Avoid social network applications. They can give broad permission to whoever developed the application to access your data and your friends’ data.
  • If you use applications, chose only from sources you trust. Remove any you don’t use
  • or trust.
  • Avoid listing your birth date, home address, children’s names, and phone numbers.
  • Don’t list your employer or your work schedule

  Safety at Home 

  • Never post details that you are on vacation. It notifies would-be criminals that your home may be empty.
  • Never share details about your children who will be left home alone.
  • Switch off the “add location to your tweets” function if you’re tweeting while on vacation.
  • Disconnect Foursquare from your Twitter and Facebook accounts, so it doesn’t update those sites when you check in. Better yet, don’t check in.
  • Never post pictures of your home on a social media site, especially with a readable address. This provides criminals with location of doors and windows.
  • Never post photos of possessions, like a new car, or an expensive work of art.

 ¹The Nielsen Company; ²Pew Research Center; ³; 4Natl. Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

 Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioner goals are to reduce property crime, violent crime and overall crime by 2015. These tips are intended to increase your awareness and help avoid crime. If you have a proven prevention or awareness tip that can be shared, fax it to 813-276-2630 for consideration for a future Crime Prevention and Safety Tip. If you have questions regarding this tip, call 813-276-2033.

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Written by Pamela Settle, owner of Light Shine Media Group and publisher of GoodLiving® Magazine. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced without permission.

GoodLiving Magazine® is printed six times a year for families in Pinellas County, Florida, home to municipalities including Clearwater, Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, Largo and St. Petersburg. The densest county in Florida, population is near 1 Million people. Past issues are available for viewing digitally on the website.

As an advocate for children and families, Pamela Settle serves as the local committee chairperson for The Children’s Movement of Florida, a non-partisan advocacy organization that works on behalf of the well being of children throughout the State of Florida.

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