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Commission Européenne Directions Générales

DG Justice et Consommateurs
DG "Education et Culture"
DG "Recherche et Innovation"
DG Réseaux de communication, contenu et technologies

Commission européenne
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Facebook! – 5 top tips for safe social surfing

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When Facebook was founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg it was originally intended to be used as an internal network, exclusive to Harvard University students. Since then social media has developed at a break-neck pace, enabling us to be more connected than ever before. However there are some dangers that we all need to be aware of so here are some handy pieces of advice. Integrate them into your school curriculum today!


1) Friend or foe?

As a general rule it is best not to accept friend requests from people you don’t know, even if you have some mutual friends. In this way you can protect your personal information from undesirables and discern who has access to your profile. If you are really curious you can always just send the requester a message to find out if you actually do know them after all.



2) Privacy Settings

If you click on the arrow symbol on the top right and go to “Settings” and then click “Privacy”, you can adjust your privacy preferences and decide exactly who can see your stuff, who can contact you and who can find you on Facebook. It is also possible to restrict specific people from viewing your future posts by clicking on Edit – Friends – More Options – Custom and then entering the names of friends who you would rather didn’t see everything.


3) Tag, You’re it!

It is now possible to review all posts that you are tagged in on Facebook and decide which ones appear on your profile newsfeed. All you need to do is click on “Timeline and Tagging” (still in settings here) and make sure that the option to review everything that you are tagged in is turned ON. Embarrassing photos begone!



4) Digital Footprint

A digital footprint is defined as being the trail or record of our online activity. The Internet has an incredible memory and once something is posted in digital format it is very difficult to erase, even if you think you have deleted it!  It is important to think about your own online image and how you may appear to potential employers so be very careful about what you post on Facebook and remember to adjust your privacy settings.


5) Block it out!

If someone is harassing you on Facebook it is possible to block them by clicking on the blocking option and adjusting your settings. Once you block someone, that person can no longer see things you post on your timeline, tag you, invite you to events or groups, start a conversation with you, or add you as a friend. If you feel you are in need of some media-tion by Facebook it is also possible to report someone by going to their profile, clicking on the 3 dots and selecting “Report”.


So there you have it, 5 handy tips to help you and your students to be safer whilst you social network! Don’t worry if you can’t understand all of the settings options straight away – eventually they will click. 

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Consumer Classroom is a collaborative website for teachers from across the EU. It provides high quality resources and interactive tools to equip 12 - 18 year olds with the practical consumer skills they need.
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