Staying Safe on Social Media and Online

The press sometimes paints a negative picture of the web which can deter organisations from using it or upsets and even frightens some older people. These resources will help you stay safe online.

Recently I was speaking to a trustee of a charity who expressed concern about an inappropriate result that appeared in an online search for a seemingly harmless enquiry. They felt reluctant to go online and even more so to use social networking websites. 

The good news is, you don't actually need special expertise (or in-house IT staff) to start making changes to protect your privacy and your organization's data. Regardless of how "techie" you are, there are basic things you can do, right now (today!) to keep yourself and your organisation safe.

Being prewarned about how to act safely and responsibly online is vital for all organisations and for anyone working with older people or people with a disability. There is so much on the web that can transform lives for good if a few simple rules are followed. These two resources have recently been published to address this question.

12 Tips to Being Safer Online

Non-profit and Charity experts Techsoup have produced this very straightforward guide which addresses four areas where your organization's security could be compromised:

  • in the office - basic things that you and your staff should think about when you work in your office
  • on the go - many employees use multiple devices (such as laptops, mobile phones, and tablets) and use them in public areas. Consider these useful tips when you’re away from your office
  • using social media - social media sites are the most visited places online. Be aware of some do’s and don’ts when you use them, both personally and professionally.
  • working in the cloud - online applications store your data on the Internet. These tips help ensure your data remains safe and uncompromised.

A background article about why being safe online matters for non-profits is here, or you can download it for free directly from this link 12 Tips to Being Safer Online (1.1 MB PDF)

Staying Safe on Social Media and Online - A Guide for people with Learning Disabilities

This incredibly clear guide produced in Easy Read Photo Symbols format by the Foundation For People With Learning Disabilities summaries important tips on how people with learning disabilities can stay safe online, in chat rooms, when using a webcam and on social networking sites. 

The guide provides practical tips and examples for managing social media profiles, Facebook, Twitter, Skype and email.  The authors also say many of the tips are transferrable to using these apps on a mobile phone or tablet device.

Free download: Staying Safe on Social Media and Online (PDF, 8.4MB)

Get Safe Online

The Get Safe Online website provides a useful feed (including via the @GetSafeOnline Twitter account) of the latest news about safety and security online including warnings of scams and alerts about viruses and security risks.

Using apps safely and securely on your touchscreen device

Most people are careful about websites they visit or programs that they download from their laptop or desktop computer. However smartphones and tablet PCs can present as many risks to security or exposure to inappropriate content if used irresponsibly. This guide to accessing apps safely is one of two from the ICO (Information Commissioner's Office). It explains the importance of checking for age-related content, only downloading from official sources and how to be wary of 'in-app' purchases.The second guide is about general smartphone safety and is downloadable here

Digital Unite

Digital Unite have a number of pages on their website covering on-line safety. There is a general step by step guide to web safetya page about shopping and on-line transactions and some safe e-mailing tips.

BBC Webwise 

The BBC Webwise site contains link to further resources about staying safe online here.

If you know of other resources that you've found useful please tell us in the comments below.

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