Privacy: Are your students’ online profiles safe?

Social networking means opening up and sharing information online with others, but it’s important that children and parents alike use high security settings to ensure that only their approved friends are seeing their information. Are your security settings set correctly so that your information is only accessible to your approved friends list?

Did you know that Facebook distributes our information to Google, applications, and third-party advertisers? Set your social media security settings high, and only include basic information, so only approved friends can access your information!

Assisting your school families in better protecting their online information is so important.

You can educate your school parents by posting helpful information to your school’s social media pages, website, or even distributing printed fliers.

One important thing you can share are the step-by-step instructions on how to make social media accounts private.


  1. Log in to your Facebook account.
  2. Click on the down arrow icon near the upper right corner of your profile page, then click “Settings.”
  3. Find “Privacy” on the left side and click it.
  4. Have your settings mimic the image below.
  5. Click “Blocking” on the left side of the screen to block users, block app invites, block event invites and block apps from your Facebook.
  6. Go to your profile, and click the “About” tab. Scroll down to where you see your “Likes” sections. Click the pencil icon, and then click “Edit Privacy.”
  7. Ensure all categories are set to “Friends”.


  1. Log in to your Instagram account via mobile phone (private post settings are only accessible via mobile device).
  2. Go to your profile by touching the button on the lower right-hand corner.
  3. Tap the “Edit Your Profile” button near your profile picture.
  4. Look for the “Posts are Private” box (near the bottom for iPhone/iPad).
  5. Switch to ON. Then press “Done” in the top right-hand corner. (If it’s ON, it will be blue.)
  6. Upon clicking, Instagram will ask for confirmation. Confirm it by clicking “Yes, I’m sure.”


  1. Log in to your Twitter account.
  2. Click on your photo icon at the top right hand corner of the screen and select “Settings.”
  3. On the left menu, find the menu labeled “Security and Privacy.” Check the “Protect my Tweets.” box in the “Tweet privacy” area to make your account private.
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the settings page and click on “Save changes.” After you save changes, you will be prompted to enter your password to confirm changes. Going forward, all of the tweets you publish will be protected and can only be seen by your current Twitter followers.


  1. When using Pinterest from the web, go to your profile page by clicking your name in the upper right corner.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom and select “Create a Secret Board.”
  3. Another way to do it is to click Add+ from the top right-hand corner of Pinterest and turn the Secret button ON.
  4. To do so via a mobile device, make sure you have the latest version of Pinterest app installed. Visit your profile, select the Boards tab and scroll down until you see “Create a Secret Board.”

Did you know there are online software programs that were created to help parents protect their child from harm online? Parents can monitor text messages, phone calls, and even social media activity. Studies show parents who are observant, engaged, and informed often have children who learn how to handle technology responsibly. In an upcoming article, we’ll talk about the options that are available and how they work.

How does your school educate students and staff in social media awareness? What application or software does your school suggest for families?