Online social networking | ACMA

Online social networking

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Many people using online dating sites are there to make friends or more, but it can leave you open to certain risks and vulnerabilities, such as:

  1. Reputation damage

  2. Scams

  3. Spam

  4. Malware

  5. Looking after children online

Reputation damage

Information posted online can be permanent. Remember the following:

  1. think how you would feel if photos or information you upload are seen by people you know

  2. ensure you control who sees your photos and personal details

  3. read terms and conditions before you sign up

  4. find out about privacy settings. You may be happy for friends view your details, but some sites may use your photo or profile for general advertising, or even pass on your details to a third party without your consent


Remember the following to protect yourself financially:

  1. think carefully before sharing information online

  2. report suspicious behaviour to the site administrator

  3. monitor online transactions and account balances

  4. never send money to someone you’ve met online. For more information about common scams involving money visit Fido and Scam Watch

Malicious software (malware)

  1. ensure anti-virus software and firewalls on your computer are up to date

  2. be suspicious of links and attachments

  3. don’t click on links in emails, if they’re not from people you trust

Children online

Here are some tips for supervising children using the internet:

  1. never share passwords, no matter how much they trust their friends

  2. use strong passwords with a combination of letters and numbers, not something that is easy to guess, like a pet’s name or a favourite singer

  3. don’t publish their personal details or those of their friends, such as names, ages, school details, email addresses or phone numbers on social networking sites (including on profiles)

  4. don’t publish inappropriate photos of themselves or anyone else and ask permission before writing about other people or publishing their photo.

  5. don’t reply to nasty email messages (but keep a copy of them in case they’re needed if trouble arises).

  6. block senders of inappropriate or unpleasant messages or delete the person if they are in their contact list.

  7. don’t give out their mobile number to people they don’t know or trust.

  8. save all nasty messages on their email accounts or mobile phones as evidence and show an adult.

Last updated: 10 June 2015