Better safe than sorry – why safety and privacy settings are so important



We’ll admit it: the term ‘safety and privacy settings’ is far from exciting. But this doesn’t change the fact they are incredibly important, especially for parents with tech-savvy children. Here’s how you can adjust these settings to help keep your children safe as they spend time online.

Instagram (13+)

Adjusting privacy settings
To set Instagram posts to private, your child should go to their profile by tapping the person icon. Then, tap the three lines icon in the top-right corner and then the gear icon, and turn on the Private Account setting.

Blocking other users
Block and remove followers by going to the profile of the user in question, then tapping the three dots icon in the top-right corner and selecting Block.

You can find out more about Instagram’s safety and privacy settings here

Snapchat (13+)

Adjusting privacy settings
Snapchat has various privacy settings. To change these, tap the gear icon in the top right of the Profile screen to access Settings.

1. Scroll down to the Who Can… section and tap an option.

2. To change Who Can Send Me Snaps within Settings, tap Contact Me under the Who Can… section and choose from Everyone or My Friends.

3. To change Who Can View My Story within Settings, tap View My Story and select either Everyone, My Friends or Custom. Any changes will be saved when you press the back button.

4. Snap Maps allows Snapchat friends to see where your child is. You can keep geo-location private by disabling location for Snapchat in the device settings or switching on ‘ghost mode’ in the Snapchat app. You can do this by pinching the screen to bring up Snap Map and clicking the gear icon in the top right corner and then either toggle Ghost Mode or choose who can see your location.

Blocking other users
Go to My Friends, tap on the name of the person you want to block, then the Settings option, which brings up a list of things you can do. Either click Block or Remove Friend.

You can find out more about Snapchat’s safety and privacy settings here

Twitter (13+)

Adjusting privacy settings
Your child can choose to protect their tweets, so they are only visible to the Twitter followers they have approved. 

On the Web, select the small profile pic in the top-right corner, and then choose Settings and privacy from the drop-down menu. 

From here, select the Privacy and safety option from the left-hand menu, and then tick the box next to Protect your Tweets. Then, scroll down and click the Save changes button. On a smartphone, tap the small profile pic in the top-left corner and select Settings and privacy, then select the Privacy and safety option. Tick the box (Android) or tap the button until it turns green (iPhone) next to Protect your Tweets, and then go back. Your new settings will be saved. 

For iOS devices, go to Protect my tweets and drag the slider to turn On. For Android devices, go to Other and tick the Tweet privacy box.

To block someone on the website and mobile, click on their tweet, select the three dots icon, then click Block. You can also Report a user or comment with this method.

You can find out more about Twitter’s safety and privacy settings here

Facebook (13+)

Adjusting privacy settings
On the desktop version, click on the drop-down menu in the top-right corner of the screen and access Settings. Then click on the privacy tab and adjust privacy settings to your preference. 

On the mobile app you can access the privacy settings by opening the three-line menu in the top-right corner of the screen. Then open the Settings and Privacy tab and then click the Privacy Shortcuts options.

Blocking other users
On the desktop version, you can block users by clicking on the drop-down menu in the top-right corner of the screen and then going into Settings. Then, click on the Block tab marked with a red sign with a white line through it. You can then type in either the name or email address of the person you want to block.

In the app, you can click the three-line menu in the top-right corner of the screen and open the Settings & Privacy tab. Then click Settings followed by Blocking under the Privacy section. You can then choose the user you want to block.

Reporting abusive or offensive content 
If you come across an inappropriate post you want to report, click on the three-dot menu in the top-right corner of the post and select Give feedback on this post. You can then choose to flag inappropriate content.

You can find out more about Facebook’s safety and privacy settings here


This article is by Parent Zone, the experts in digital life.