Attorney General Alerts

    Staying Safe on Social Media


    September 2, 2015

    When used appropriately, social media sites are an enjoyable and effective way to keep in touch with friends and family. But there are potential dangers associated with these sites, including online predators. Social networking sites can provide a false sense of security for users who ignore the risks in making connections online.

    Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued today’s consumer alert to provide online safety tips to Arkansans to keep everyone and their personal information safe.

    “Online social networking has become an everyday way of life,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “All Arkansans, but particularly teens, need to be made aware of the downfalls of social media. Parents and families must explain proper Internet habits and uses. This requires moms and dads, aunts and uncles and grandparents to get smart online.”

    Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for parents and families to keep their teens and children safe online:

    • Keep tablets, laptops and cell phones in a shared area of the house with frequent foot traffic so that responsible household members can monitor times of use and materials viewed.
    • Establish guidelines about the use of these devices, as well as an open dialogue on what is acceptable online behavior.
    • Be aware of what Internet sites are frequented by children and teens. Blocking or screening services are available through Internet service providers or by purchasing software.
    • Consider how different social networking sites operate before deciding if a child should join. Some sites allow only specific age groups or a defined community of users to access posted content, while others allow anyone and everyone to view postings.
    • Remind teens that once information is posted online, it cannot be removed. Even if information is deleted from a site, older versions can continue to exist on other sites. Helping to keep control over posted information by restricting access to a select group of people is advisable.
    • Warn children to be wary of friends they know solely online and never give out their telephone number, home or school address or other personal information.
    • Discuss the dangers of meeting new online friends in person, and encourage them to share with a trusted adult if an online friend’s behavior seems strange.
    • Review the privacy policy and terms of usage for sites that require registration of personal information such as email addresses. Select the highest privacy settings available, and avoid social networking sites that do not allow users to control access to postings.

    Social networking sites have exploded in popularity in the past decade. According to a Pew Research survey last month, Facebook reports that 72 percent of U.S. adults who are online are active users, meanwhile 23 percent are on Twitter, 28 percent are on Instagram and 18 percent are on Snapchat. Snapchat is reported to be the fastest growing social media platform especially among children, teens and young adults.

    For more information on Internet and social media safety and other consumer-related issues, call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

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