Social media can be a great way to stay connected with the outside world. Whether it is chatting with family and friends, keeping up with the latest trends or listening to your favourite podcast, social media and the internet has something for everyone. But how do you know when you are using too much social media, or being exposed to some negative social media habits? To get you started, Beyond Blue shares six tips on how to use social media in a positive way.

The video below gives some suggestions on how to keep safe on the internet and on social media.

Being safe on the internet

Reach Out is another youth-friendly resource, providing information on how to limit your time on the phone without the ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO). Here are their 5 ways that you can limit your social media use:

1. Keep apps out of sight, so they’re out of mind. Try moving some of your social media apps away from your homepage on your phone. Or if you want to go one step further, try deleting them for a day!

2. Use apps or tools to help you limit your time on social media (some of our most used tools include Forest, Self-Control or the Do Not Disturb option on iPhones)

3. Spend an hour a week on at least one screen-free hobby (not sure what to do? Perhaps play a sport, go for a walk, reading or doing some gardening!).

4. Enjoy a phone-free dinner and have a conversation about how your day went or a phone-free activity that you might do after dinner such as board games, movie night or go for a walk.

5. Leave your phone outside the bedroom, especially when it’s on charge or when you are getting ready for bed.

When chatting with someone you know or have recently met through social media, dating apps or just the internet, it is good to have some boundaries on what information you share with them. Sharing personal details about your private life, selfies and or videos too soon can invite the wrong kind of attention. Sometimes we are not sure about what we should or shouldn’t do and tend to make an impulse decision which seemed harmless or OK at the time. Here are 5 safety internet tips that may help.

Safety Tips on social media

Sending nude pictures and sexting has become more common as social media becomes more popular. Whilst it may seem harmless, sending intimate photos or text messages can have some scary consequences. Sexting or sending nudes can put you at risk of image-based abuse, or the sharing of intimate images without your consent. It can also put you at risk of sextortion, a type of blackmail when someone threatens to share intimate images or text messages that you have sent. See the below video to learn more about sextortion.

The eSafety website has some tips on what you can do if your images or text messages have been shared online.

1. Ask for the image or text message to be deleted
2. Report it to the social media site was posted
3. Seek support from counsellors or other services (such as eHeadspace)

If a person continues to send or share photos, messages and or videos of you without your permission, on social media or to other people, this is a form of cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying is using technology to bully, hurt and or defame someone else. Often we can simply ignore the other persons actions especially when we have supportive friends, family or an adult that we trust and can to talk about it with, like a counsellor or mentor. However, if you are feeling anxious, uncomfortable or worried, kidshelpline provides some ways you can protect yourself from cyberbullying and ways to help stop cyberbullying.

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