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Staying safe on Facebook

Lots of you use Facebook in your daily lives. Adults and young people aged thirteen and above can use the social networking site to post pictures, videos and chat to friends. Below are a few tips on how to keep your information private and get the most out of Facebook.

An example of what Facebook Timeline looks likeYour profile picture

Your profile image and cover picture are the only photos of yourself that will remain public no matter how tight your privacy settings are.

Everyone will be able to see these two photos so it’s important to choose ones that you would feel comfortable sharing and ones that won’t attract the wrong kind of attention. 


Tips for choosing a safe cover photo:

  • Instead of posting a photo of you, you could use a picture you like or a photo of your favourite band instead.

  • Don't post any photos or videos that you wouldn't be happy for your parents, carers or teacher to see. Once they are up online they can be copied and posted in other places where you can't get rid of them.

  • Try and avoid choosing photos that can easily identify you e.g. ones that contain your school name, school badge, sports club or home address.
    Visit the social networking page for more tips on creating a safe profile.

  • Old posts and status updates

    Facebook arranges all of your Facebook activity into the different years or months that it happened, from your very first post to the present day. This includes all posts, photos you were tagged in and status updates. Although it can be fun to look back and see when you did what, sometimes you might just not want to and have things on there that you’d rather forget about.

  • How can I stop people from seeing my old posts?

    There is an Activity Log on your Facebook page. If you click this, you will see all of your old activity in a long list. Against each item, you then have the option to delete or hide that particular post or comment. You can also do this in one go by clicking on 'Limit the audience for Past Posts' under Privacy Settings.

    You can also control who can see new posts by clicking on the drop down box within your status update box - select public, friends or only you.

  • How can I change my privacy settings?

    On your Facebook newsfeed page, there is a drop down arrow in the top right-hand corner next to ‘Home’. Click on the arrow and then select Privacy Settings.

    Under privacy settings you can:

    - control who can find you, contact you and post on your wall
    - control who sees what (under Custom)
    - control tags from friends – so you can review them before they go on your timeline
    - limit the audience for Past Posts
    - block certain people from being your friend or interacting with you. This is helpful to know if somebody is cyber bullying you or making you feel uncomfortable.

  • I’d like to find more about…

    It’s important to stay safe online. Visit the explore section for information on:

    - Social networking: advice about staying safe and how to create a safe profile

    - Mobile phone safety: mobile phone safety tips and what to do if you are being bullied

    - Online gaming: how to stay safe and in control when playing games online

    - Sexting: advice if somebody has sent you a sexual photo or shared one of you

    - Covering your tracks: steps on how you can keep your visits to ChildLine private

    - Cyber bullying: what to do if you are being bullied by somebody online

Have any tips for staying safe online?

Perhaps you're an online gamer or visit social networking sites. Why not post a message on the message boards.

Visit the Safer Internet Day message board

Anything missing?

Is there any other information or advice you'd like to see about Facebook Timeline?

Staying safe on Facebook 


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