Social Software Sites (SNS) Safety

SNS are very popular among young people. On their profile, they post everything they want to share with others: what they are doing, what interests them, photos, video’s,… That way, their profile reflects their identity. It is like your house on the internet: it shows who you are and can pop by.

Young people especially like SNS because you link your profile to the ones of your friends, so they will be alerted by every change on your profile and they can check it out. Also this list of friends is used as a popularity measure: the more friends and posts on your profile, the more popular you are.

SNS are the biggest privacy challenge. Young people often post too much personal data (first and surname, address, telephone number,…) on their profile. Information that is often (unknowingly) accessible by everybody to use or even abuse. Most young people don’t (sufficiently) use the privacy settings their SNS offers.

Some young people post very explicit photos of themselves. This is not abnormal. It fits into this developmental age where adolescents discover who they are by triggering the reaction of others. But these pictures can also trigger people with less honest intentions. Young people also often post pictures of (themselves with) others, without taking the ‘Right on Images’ into account. This withholds the right to decide whether a photo or video of yourself is being published. This would mean that you should always ask someone’s permission before posting his or her photo. This is very difficult for young people. However, they should know this right exists, so they should immediately take down a picture someone object to.