Social media safety tips

Check that the settings on your social media accounts keep your personal information private.

apps iconsSafety tips for women using social media

Check the privacy settings for each of your accounts, and make sure they are all set to private. Our quick guides show you how to make sure only ‘Friends’ or ‘Followers’ you have accepted can see your posts, including photos and videos. Be sure to do this for any children’s accounts as well.

Keep personal details such as your address, email address, phone number and birthdate private.

Be mindful that ‘Friends’ or ‘Followers’ may take screenshots of your posts, or save photos and videos and share them with others. Don't post anything that may put you in danger, affect your reputation or be used against you or your family.

Be careful how much information is in the photos or videos you share. For instance, could someone find out where you are if you are pictured at a well-known venue or someone’s house?

Be careful who you become friends with online and what you share with them.

Be wary of surveys and competitions. Sometimes they ask for your personal details and you might be tempted to take them if attractive prizes are on offer. Often these scams are linked to identity theft.

Regularly check your settings. Be aware that updates to software can change your privacy settings, making them more public than you would like.

If you don’t want people to know where you are, disable the location services on your device and avoid ‘checking in’ to places and venues. Ask your friends not to check you in to places as well.

If you have a friend who's at risk of violence or stalking, don't ‘check in’, ‘tag’ or post anything about them publicly.

Change your settings so others can't ‘tag’ you or ‘check you’ in without your okay.

Don’t hashtag anything you don’t want to become public. Anything with a hashtag (such as #havingagreattime) is searchable on the internet, depending on your privacy settings.

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Safety advice for women who experience violence

This advice has been developed for women who have experienced violence or fear they may experience violence to themselves or their children, including cyberstalking, from a current or former partner or another worrying person.

Contact 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) for help to make a safety plan. Use a friend’s phone to contact them, or use a friend’s device or public library computer and go to their website.

  • Turn location services off in the settings of all devices you use and check the privacy settings on all social media. This will limit others tagging you or posting photos or videos of you. Do the same with children’s devices and accounts.
  • Consider minimising social media posts until you feel safer. If this will make the abuser suspicious then keep posting but without location information or anything that will upset them.
  • Do not post photos or videos that show your location or the location of your children. Abusers may identify patterns in your day and week. Cut off the information so they can’t follow you.
  • Talk to your children about how important it is not to put location information online. Include them when you are developing the safety plan so they can communicate and stay connected safely.
  • If there is any direct abuse or threat contact the police for advice. Ask police what evidence they will need to prove a crime is being committed.

Safety advice for women who experience abuse on social media

If you are being seriously threatened and you feel that your life, or your children’s lives, are at risk you should call Triple Zero (000).

Do not respond to the abuse. Keep evidence of the abuse such as a screen shot or photo with your phone. Find out how to take a screen shot as the evidence may be useful later if you want to take legal action. It’s a good idea to keep all evidence in a safe place or consider sending it to a friend for safe keeping.

Reporting the abuse to the website it was posted on is a good first step to take, unless this will make the abuser angrier and put you in greater danger. To see instructions on how to do this, visit our Social media page and select the relevant social media service.

If you can, block the person and ignore their posts. Again, only do this if it is safe and won’t make the abuser angrier.

Tell a trusted friend. You may feel awkward about this but it is a good thing to share your concerns with others who care about you. Seeking help is your right and it could mean the abuse stops more quickly.

Sometimes, in certain situations, you can report your concerns to ACORN, the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network, set up to help people over 18 report cybercrime.

My account has been hacked. What should I do?

Change your password immediately. If you are still worried, start a new account.

If you can’t get into your own account, you need to report this to the website.

Someone has set up a fake social media account in my name

You can report the fake account directly to the website that hosts it. Be aware though that it can take some time before the fake account is removed.

If the account is abusive or threatening, keep evidence of the abuse.

Contact local police to find out what evidence they need, and report the abuse to them if you are scared about your safety.

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Contact 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) for free and confidential safety planning, counselling and support for people who experience abuse, including family abuse and sexual abuse. 1800RESPECT can also link you to local services if you need them.

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