How can I stay safe?

Social networks and new technologies

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Social networks are websites where we can create a personal profile and contact other people. We can share news, photos, video or music with other people. We can also chat online.

One of the most popular social networks is Facebook.

These new technologies, when used inadequately, can also lead to involvement in risk behaviours. These online risk behaviours can affect our life offline.

Some of these are:

  • online abuse (to know more about online abuse click here).
  • sexting e cybersex: using new technologies to exchange sexual content or to participate in more or less explicit sexual acts through written or multimedia messages (photos, videos) and chatrooms and webcam.

It may seem exciting to exchange this type of message with someone ‘special’, but take a few things into account before making your decision:

  • is the relationship with this ‘special’ person going to last forever?
  • can this ‘special’ person, whether or not they intend to hurt or harm, share or show the exchanged messages to another person?
  • Remember that this type of act should always be very thought through when someone ‘special’ is on the other end. However, if on the other end, is a person you do not know, the answer should be only one: NO!

    Remember that your mobile phone, your computer or your Facebook account should make your daily life easier and more fun, and not harm, disturb or annoy you!

    Here are some tips on how to have a healthy relationship with new technologies and social networks…


    • Provide personal information (address, the name of the school you attend, mobile phone number, passwords) about you, your family, friends and other people you know.
    • Share false information about other people to cause them harm.
    • Use social networks to hurt, offend or humiliate another person.
    • Share videos, photos or comments which you would be embarrassed by if seen by your parents or a teacher, for example.
    • Add people you don’t know, even if those people are adamant that they know you.
    • Reply to provocative or unpleasant messages, directed at you or your friends.
    • Use social networks to say or do things you were unable to say or do in person or in ‘real’ life.


    • Set up a generic personal profile, just with your name (not your full name) and the county/region where you live, for example.
    • Choose profile photos that cannot identify you directly such as the photo of your pet, of a landscape where you went to on holidays or an abstract picture.
    • Make your profile private, that is, define your privacy options so your profile is seen just by your friends; do not give your social network password to anyone, even if someone pressures you to do it; if that happens speak with an adult you trust.
    • Keep your password for yourself. Don’t share it.
    • Think before you post. Think along these lines “What will my parents or teachers think of me if they see this?”. If the answer to the question is not exactly positive for you, then the best decision is not to publish! Remember that any information you publish (a comment, note, chat, video, photo) can be copied, posted, distributed and seen by many people.
    • Respect and treat those people you are connected with online the same way you would treat them in person.
    • Not reply to unpleasant, humiliating or intimidating messages that were sent to you and make sure you report the abusive content.
    • Accept the fact that your online contacts are not always available to talk with you.
    • Set limits for the daily time you spend socializing online. Think “If I can do it or say it in person why say it online or by text message?”
    • Allow time for yourself. You do not have to be online 24/7.