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Online Social Media Safety

Posted on Friday, November 4, 2016
Online Social Media Safety

How many of us have Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? 58% of Americans use some platform of social media, with over one million of them being on Facebook. (credit: http://www.statisticbrain.com/social-networking-statistics/)

Have you ever seen something that makes you wonder why people posted it? Maybe it's a check-in at their house or a photo with their physical address on it? Every time I see someone post something like that, I just cringe!

In today's world, it is not hard to find someone by what they post on Facebook. Personally, I could probably find your address, place of employment and court records within 5 minutes of viewing a profile. (What can I say, I have wonderful skip-tracing abilities!) But that is no good! As parents, most of us know that we should keep our profiles private, not talk to strangers, delete and block potential "threats" to our families and NEVER GIVE OUT PERSONAL INFORMATION over Facebook! But while we take the time over and over to explain to our children about the dangers of online predators and bullying - do they really listen?

As a parent we hope our kids are listening and obeying the online rules - don't talk to strangers, no bullying, report things that are inappropriate - but are they really doing it? Too often, kids will post what they want, you as the parent will not see it. They can block you from seeing certain posts, hide things in "secret conversations" now or they just can flat out lie to us. It's up to us to set a good example and try to explain to them the dangers of the online world.

There are sex offenders out there that are on Facebook - even though it is FB's policy that they are not allowed on the site, they cannot filter through every profile to verify if they are a sex offender or not. You can report sex offenders to facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/help/210081519032737 Make sure that you use the STATES SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY when you give them a source. They have more credibility than Family Watchdog and some states have a direct link to the offender. You can also call the state police and let them know that offender X is using social media. Some states allow it while others do not. It depends on the crime as well as the state laws. It's in our opinion that more states allow offenders on social media, rather than telling them no.

Each website should state in their rules if they allow sex offenders on their site or not.
*Instagram does not allow sex offenders, report here: https://help.instagram.com/contact/334013860059654
*Facebook does not allow sex offenders, report here: https://www.facebook.com/help/210081519032737
*It was unclear if sex offenders could use Twitter or not.
**Hey adults, make sure if you are using an online dating site, that they pre-screen members through the sex offender registry first! Most of the "big name" sites do!

You can never be too safe on social media. Remember the basics!
Don't share personal information.
Make sure your profiles are set to private.
Never post your children's school or photos to the public.
If you feel uncomfortable about someone, delete, block and report!

We found a great site to help make sure you have all your bases covered online, from password safety to online shopping safely! https://staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/protect-your-personal-information/social-networks

What else would you add about online safety?

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