Ensure their profile is ‘private’.
Online profiles should always be made private so that only people who have been accepted as ‘friends’ can access them. If pages are ‘public’, or the default settings are left in place, anyone can access the profile. Discuss and agree privacy settings with your child before they sign up to an online platform or social media account.
Turn ‘Location Services’ off.
The default settings for social networking sites often include Location Services being activated. Make sure your child’s Location Services are turned off to prevent anyone finding out exactly where they posted from.
Delete nasty comments or posts.
Users can delete messages if they are nasty, offensive or they just don’t want them to appear on their page. The sender of the message will not be notified that their comment has been deleted.
’Block’ users or numbers.
Users can ‘block’ people formerly regarded as ‘friends’ from seeing, reading, or contacting them online. Blocking can be very effective however it can often be seen as socially unacceptable, so be mindful of this and ask your child how they would feel about it.
Most social networks allow users to report communications that they consider to be illegal, offensive, harassing or bullying in nature. The networks do not have capacity to monitor all profiles, so they rely on people using reporting tools as a way of policing the site.
In general, networks advise that nasty comments are ignored and deleted unless they are threatening or illegal, in which case they should be reported to the site administrators and, where applicable, the police.
You can also download a CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) app
that stays visible on the webpage and can be clicked to instantly report abuse or get advice.