Most online savvy kids understand the importance of keeping social media accounts locked down but they can often forget their bios are still publically visible. In an effort to connect with peers or possibly generate followers, youth are including identifying information which can open them up to exploitation.
Cybertip.ca analysts are seeing these too-much-info bios on Instagram®, but they can appear on any platform. Youth will list their name, hometown, school name (or abbreviation of the school name), and/or links to their other social media accounts. This provides those looking to exploit children with just enough information to build trust or trick kids into thinking the person is a peer or knows one of their offline friends.
Some tips to talk about with your teen are:
- Remind them that even if their social media accounts are private, their bios are not.
- Talk about creating bios that don’t include any identifying information, such as their name, school, sports team name, or city.
- Double check that your teen’s account IS private. Often social media accounts are set to public by default, so it’s a good time to review.
- Remind them not everyone is who they say they are online. If someone is friend requesting them and they don’t know the person offline, best not to friend them online.