Protect your reputation online

With the number of reported crimes involving social networking on the rise in Britain, Igniyte has created a guide to help you and your family protect yourselves online.

According to the Telegraph, the Metropolitan Police released figures this month which state that 1,207 crimes in the past two years involved Facebook – that’s a 21% rise from the previous year. Crimes involving Twitter also rose by 19% in that time, with 138 different crimes reported for 2014.

This is probably the tip of the iceberg with many online grooming, ‘trolling’ and other harassment offences remaining unreported. An increasing number of children have access to social media, with a small percentage of under 13’s now having access according to Igniyte’s Teenagers Personal Information Guide.

How do I manage my personal reputation online?

According to ditchthelabel.org, 43% of young people are bullied and only half of them report it to someone. Before the digital age, all a young person had to do to avoid being bullied was dodge the kids in the playground. Nowadays, with more people than ever involved with social media, it’s becoming a lot harder for anyone to track what’s going on – and protect yourself from being targeted by harmful users or messages.

What’s the best practice to protecting yourself online?

The difficulty often lies with miscommunication; subtract tone of voice and body language from the equation, and you’re left decoding an innocuous comment for hours. We have all experienced that, so take a deep breath and consider the poster’s motives.

If someone posts something online, you have the solid proof and can take appropriate action. The following tips can help you protect your child.

  • Don’t delete the evidence: Take a screenshot and tell someone, but do not respond. Even if it’s not in school, administrators are still at your disposal. If it’s an anonymous post, don’t worry as detectives can trace the IP address and find out who is responsible.
  • Don’t retaliate: It can be so hard, but a knee-jerk reaction will not do the situation any good in most cases. Aggression will simply provoke a bully more and can damage your integrity.
  • Report: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are amongst those sites which have reporting mechanisms. They allow you to flag the incident with their staff. You can also flag and remove an abusive direct message or private conversation on each site, which also removes it from your feed instantly. You can also block them if you feel it is appropriate to do so. It may be worth considering broaching the subject with the perpetrator directly, depending on the situation.
  • Don’t turn a blind eye: Bystanders who do are part of the problem. org says that 69% of young people have witnessed somebody else being bullied, yet 43% of young people are bullied – why is this figure still so high if more than two of every three people are witnessing it?
  • Stay on top of it: You can set Google Alerts for when someone posts content about you and ask them to remove anything which could be negative or harmful. Never share your login details, even with close friends – that way you’re safeguarded from stolen identity.
  • Educate and set basic rules: Ensure emotions are taken into account before your child posts online and the privacy settings are optimised.
  • Always tell someone: Don’t ever try and deal with something like this alone, tell a friend or a family member; make sure you’re children know that if it happens to them, they should tell you or a teacher. Always make someone else aware of the problem.

Igniyte’s guide can help

If your teenager is facing issues online or you would like to find out more about Igniyte’s reputation services please contact Simon Wadsworth by email; [email protected] or phone; +44 0203 542 8689. Download our guide to Managing Your Teenager’s Personal Information Online for free here.