In one of my recent posts, I wrote about how I learnt to love Social Media and the inevitable downsides of being active online. Despite always practising ‘Safe Social’, I recently realised that a woman who I’m indirectly connected with was obsessively viewing my IG Stories a few dozen times a day (!) despite not following me or ever having met me. I felt unfairly taken advantage of. As a blogger and human being, it’s inevitable to share part of your life online and while people viewing your content are generally doing so innocently, sometimes people will have malicious intentions. It’s so important to keep this front of mind when posting content online. This is such an important issue and I’m thrilled to announce that I am partnering with UNICEF to share my thoughts on staying safe online today for Safer Internet Day 2018.
The internet is a weird one. Despite being hyperconnected globally, we tend to gravitate towards others with similar views and thus experience our own microcosm online. My experience online is lovely and overwhelmingly supportive; I have great IRL friends and Twitter/IG friends who always like/comment/share my content so it’s easy to forget that not everyone is nice. Your innocently-shared content can be unfairly exploited by anyone who comes across it. Despite being a digital-native, I was reminded of this recently and wanted to share my tips for staying safe online, what to do if someone is bullying you and a little challenge to share love and positivity today.
Tips to stay safe online
1. Don’t post personal details online
It’s very, very easy for people to exploit the information you innocently put out there. Aside from the email address for my blog, I never post any contact details online. Always keep your mobile number, email address and physical address confidential. It can be super easy for people to not only find ways to contact you but also this information can be used to hack your accounts.
2. Keep your location off or vague
Similar to the above point, be careful of how much information you share about where you are. It’s really easy for people to figure out where you live if you post your exact location or every time you go to your local coffee shop. As a blogger, I tag my location on IG to increase visibility but I rarely post in real-time so it’s hard to track down where I am exactly and I always keep it slightly vague, for example posting London or my borough rather than where I actually live.
3. Review privacy settings
4. Two-Factor Authentification
Most Social Media sites offer two-factor authentification and you should definitely switch this feature on! It essentially means that a password isn’t enough to log into your accounts, you need to enter additional information such as an access code which is sent via text message. It makes accessing your social media accounts much more secure as it’s much harder to hack your accounts. I have this switched on for everything from Facebook to Twitter.
What to do if someone is bullying/harassing you online
1. Keep a record
It can be tricky to know when to take action against someone who is bullying or harassing you. I’m really quick to report someone who is behaving out of line towards someone else but when it comes to me, I’m always hesitant. If I notice the same person is making comments or targetted harassment, I tend to take screenshots as proof just in case I need to escalate an issue.
2. Block them
The ‘block’ button is there for a reason! If someone is being problematic or I don’t feel comfortable with them seeing what I share online, I will block them. The most important thing is that you feel safe and secure online so don’t hesitate in hitting the block button to protect yourself.
3. Report them/tell someone
In addition to blocking someone from seeing your content and contacting you, you can also report someone on every single social media platform. Again, I’ve used this several times to report accounts which are racist, sexist or otherwise abusive. Twitter is great as it gives you an update on the action they have taken. It’s also important to tell someone about bullying, especially if it is someone known to you through school, work or in the real world. Bullying is completely unacceptable and people need to be held accountable for their actions.
Spread A Little Kindness
As a blogger, I’m really exposed to negative comments. I will never forget the first blog post I posted which received negative comments, everything from my lipstick choice to my outfit was completely ripped apart by anonymous strangers in comment after comment. Each felt like a punch to the gut and left me feeling sick. But I realised that comments by trolls say a LOT more about them than me, being that negative and hateful towards a stranger is not normal behaviour.
Today more than ever it’s important to spread kindness online so I invite you to join me in a little activity to spread some kindness online. I’m normally pretty good at hitting the like button and leaving comments but today I want to make a conscious effort to leave at least 10 positive comments on blog posts, IG posts or on Twitter to spread a little positivity. Let’s reclaim the internet as a safe, happy and kind place today. Will you join me?
Jacket – Topshop (similar)
Dress – Rick Owens
Belt – Off White
Shoes – Sophia Webster
Photography by Adorngirl.