Self Defence Online: Top Tips
The online world is as much filled with positivity as it is with negativity. But who wants negativity? NOBODY!
Guest Blog by Caitlin Jones
By following these tips you’ll be protecting yourself from online danger and hopefully have a much happier experience when using the Internet and social media.
Check your privacy
Take just 15 minutes to go through your social media settings and check the privacy. I bet so many people reading this will think “I can’t be bothered” or “it’s not worth it”.
Well, IT IS!
Have you ever thought about how easy it is for strangers to view your profiles? The followers you have that you don’t know? The friend requests you’ve ignored?
You can check who can see what – from your posts, personal details, comments and even your likes – by going to the settings on your apps. The safest thing to do is set everything to ‘friends only’, you’ll know who’s viewing your content and will avoid judgement from haters.
Turn off location settings
By default, your location is always turned on for apps such as Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. But there is absolutely no need for your location to always be on.
If your location is available for anyone to see when you post something then you could be leaving yourself vulnerable.
My advice would be, if you want to post something about a place you’re at, wait until you’ve left to tag the location. You can do this by searching for it after rather than it being automatic.
Turning your location settings off for apps is super easy, here’s how to do it on your settings for an iPhone or an Android phone:
Don’t let your friend be a bully
Now you’d think this was pretty obvious, but lots of us have been in a situation (or heard of one) where a bad comment has been made on a picture or a nasty message has been sent to somebody.
Don’t be that person who sits back and allows it to happen. Try to advise your friend that what they are doing is NOT funny, NOT cool, and WILL hurt the person it’s targeted at.
Perhaps you’ve been on the receiving end of negativity from somebody else. Knowing the hurt you felt, why would you encourage somebody else to do the same? Be the positive influence. Don’t let your friend be a bully and if they won’t accept your advice, consider removing yourself from the situation.
Unfollow and delete
The Internet is crammed with content, some we like, and some we don’t. Some of it makes us happy, some of it doesn’t. There’s so much choice, and so many things that can make you feel positive, why would you choose to follow something that doesn’t make you feel like that?
When you have some spare time, take 10 minutes to unfollow and delete ANYTHING that doesn’t make you happy.
Check back in a few weeks and see it’s had a positive effect on the way you feel. I did this myself, and I feel much clearer in my mind and definitely happier.
Block and report
If you’ve ever been a victim of online hate or bullying, or have simply seen something you disagree with or that makes you feel uncomfortable, then use the block/report button.
Perhaps you’re receiving messages from a stranger or somebody is spamming you? BLOCK/REPORT them.
Don’t hesitate to use this tool, sometimes the sooner you do it the better, to avoid constant harassment or annoyance.
Social media detox
More often than not I’m hearing how social media is negatively affecting people’s mental health. According to the findings of a survey by Code Computerlove, the average screen time in the UK for 16-24-year olds is 3 hours and 23 minutes per day – a whopping 50 days every year. Just how crazy does that sound?
So yes, please do give yourself a well-deserved detox every now and again.
Whether that’s a ban after a certain time every day, or a solid week without social media (if you like a challenge – try a month!).
Don’t be that person with their head buried so deep in their phone they miss all the beauty around them. The constant connection with the online world often disconnects you from the real world. A detox is crucial as it enables you to reconnect.
It’s probably impossible to completely protect yourself from danger online, that’s why using these tips as guidelines to protect yourself is important.
Why let something we have control over hurt us? These quick and easy tips could save you a lot of hassle in the future.
We should all be having good experiences online as well as in real life, so let’s do our best to do so!
Let’s work together for a better Internet.
If you’re worried about anything, whether that’s to do with being online or anything else in life, you can always speak to our Meic advisors who are here to help between 8am and midnight, 7 days a week.