Student News

Police warn of Twitter & Facebook age timebomb

Shaun Daubney
Police warn of Twitter & Facebook age timebomb
by Shaun Daubney - Thursday, 25 February 2016, 2:51 PM

Paedophiles could get away with grooming young teenagers on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter – because of a timebomb triggered years ago by their parents. Police warn that the timebomb was set in motion around five or six years ago when social media sites like Facebook and Twitter exploded in popularity and children joined their friends on the sites by lying about their age.

Police say that if an adult tries to groom a 14 or 15-year-old via social media with a profile claiming they are 16 or older, they could be able to argue that they thought they were talking to another adult.

To stay safe online remember to:

  • Update your date-of-birth and other details
    Make sure the information about you is correct, but don't over-share. You don't need to put your phone number, address and your life history on Facebook.
  • Think carefully about what you post
    You don’t want your privacy invaded, bear in mind that even innocent photos can be stolen or misused.
  • Keep your social media accounts private
    That includes Facebook, Instagram or anywhere else where you post photos or personal information. As well, check your settings to see what people who search for you can find, even if your account is private.
  • Think carefully about whom you accept as friends or followers
    Even if someone seems harmless, you have absolutely no idea who they actually are. It’s better to be safe than sorry. If you use social media to keep in touch with family and friends, consider creating a private, or even a secret, Facebook group to share photos. Instagram also allows you to send photos to select people.
  • Turn off location tagging
    Geolocation can help predators track down exactly where you live.

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