Kingston Police

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Internet and Social Media




Social media sites are great for letting you share photos, videos and more with friends and family. However, the information you share can sometimes be seen by strangers who may have less than good intentions. Even a simple photo can give away personal information like where you live (if the photo was taken at home) or where you currently are (if you posted the photo as soon as you took it).


With this in mind it is important to make sure you lock down your social media sites as best you can. You can also use various Apps and programs to remove location information from the photos you post.


Also, social media sites like Facebook update their security settings often without warning, so check your settings at least once a week. Make sure the settings are as private as can be.


ALWAYS remember that once you post something online, you may cannot control who that information is shared with. Removing it from wherever you posted does not mean someone has not already reposted it somewhere else.



Chatting with strangers online and potentially making new friends may see harmless, but it can be dangerous and can lead to negative, dangerous and even criminal consequences.


Here are some do’s and don’ts that may help you stay safe online:


  • Be careful who you add to your friends list. You may add complete strangers to your profile to make new friends, or to make your following count higher. Whatever the reason, allowing strangers to see all of your personal information is not safe. If you would not share personal details with a stranger on the street, then why do it online?
  • When posting information or chatting with strangers online, don’t give out any personal information, such as your exact age, full name, address, work or school, phone number, etc. Giving away this information makes it extremely easy for anyone to find you.
  • If you are thinking about meeting an online acquaintance in person, meet only in a public place and take someone with you. At the very least make sure someone knows where you are going and who you are meeting. If you are a young person, ask your parents first! Another good safety tip would be to have a video chat before the meet. This way you can see exactly who it is that you have been chatting with online and then know who to look for.
  • If you receive a suspicious message, email or request do not reply. Scammers, hackers and phishers are able to pull all kinds of information from your online presence which they will use in an endless variety of ways to try and deceive you. If the suspicious message appears to be from a friend, ask your friend directly if they sent it, before opening the message or replying to it.



Webcams are a great way to stay in touch with friends and family, but there are a few things you should know in order to use them safely.


  • When you are using a webcam to chat, do not say or do anything that you would be ashamed for others to see. A webcam chat may feel private but hackers can be watching and the video can be captured by the other person’s computer and saved for later viewing, posted to a website or copied and distributed.
  • Hackers have been known to remotely take control of webcams at which point they can turn them on and record you without your knowledge. This can happen even if you think your webcam is off. Consider covering you webcam with a sticky note or point it towards the wall when not in use.



Photo sharing is a great way to let friends and family know what’s going on in your life. Photos can be shared through instant messaging, chat rooms, social networking sites, photo sharing sites, email and a variety of other platforms. However, photo sharing can raise some issues for everyone:


  • Once you send or upload a photo, it is out of your control. Making your sites private will help, but it is no guarantee the photo will not be leaked and end up on the World Wide Web. Keep this in mind when posting photos of your friends as well – always get their permission before posting.
  • A private photo you intended for only one person can easily be captured and distributed to anyone. The photo can then be downloaded, saved and even altered.
  • Photos often contain Geotags which provides that exact location the photo was taken. This information can be used by anyone with access to the photo to find out where you live, go to school, work, etc. Consider using an App that removes Geotags from any photo you want to share online. Search iTunes or Google to find a current Geotag removal App.




Sexting refers to sending photos, videos or messages that are sexual in nature by text message or over the Internet.


  • Sexting carries the same risks as photo sharing and webcam use: once you have sent a photo, video or message of yourself, it is out of your control. There is no way to limit who the photos or videos are passed on to, or who will see them. The photos, videos and messages can also be saved for later viewing, published to a website, or saved and distributed. In other words, once a photo is online, it is out there forever.



While the Internet can be an incredible social and educational tool, children’s online safety depends on parents/guardians taking a proactive approach to help protect their children from online exploitation. As children grow and the Internet evolves, the activities children undertake online change as well.


Here are some tips that can help ensure your young person’s safety on the Internet:


  • Let your child know they can talk to you about anything and that you will always support them, no matter what. Building trust is important and also lets your child know that they can come to you without fear of judgment.
  • Know that social media and information and communication technologies (ex: smart phones) are a regular part of your young person’s life. Threatening to take away their Internet access or smart phone can have detrimental effects; your child will be a lot more reluctant to actually come and talk to you if something negative is happening to them online.
  • Learn how young people are using the Internet. You may have a lot of preconceived notions about ‘social media’ and the Internet that are inaccurate.  Remember that the Internet and/or social media sites are not the issue; the way that some people interact on them is the problem.
  • Teach the young person about the dangers of posting personal information (location, school, full name, personal pictures, etc.) online.