08 May 2017Housekeeping time - Keeping families safe on social media

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It's always a good idea to keep yourself and your Serving family member safe on social media, so here's some good help and advice to make sure your privacy settings are set correctly.


You can never be too careful:

Social networking sites are great for keeping in touch with family and friends, and letting the world know what you’re up to. The ‘Online engagement guidelines’ make it clear that we encourage the safe and responsible use of social networking sites.

This page contains guidance on how to stay safe and to think about what you post online. Remember, that there may be those who use such sites for unsavoury reasons.

Be extra careful if you have identified yourself as being a member of the military or an MOD civilian.

There is a short guide to appropriate social media behaviour for defence personnel and they should be aware on how to act using social media and when not to use it.

You can also download the Personal security online (PDF, 1.55MB, 11 pages) file which contains some more detailed guidance.

A good general rule of thumb however is not to include images of any Servicemen and women; known or unknown and particularly in uniform. So, team or family pictures of a son or daughter in uniform on social media is discouraged. Especially if your privacy settings are left as 'public' and with your location settings turned on (which most mobile phones have as a default setting 'unless' you turn them off). The guides provided on this page can help you with all of this.

Security and privacy settings

Whenever you join a social network, you should always look at the privacy and security settings. Do this frequently as settings are subject to change. For example, on Facebook, access to friends only (Friends 'except' Acquaintances) is always a good option as means others (friends of your friends) can't browse your pages, who you potentially don't know.

Each social network deals with privacy and security in different ways, and you shouldn’t share information on their service until you know where that could end up.

Pictures and videos

Pictures are powerful and often revealing assets that can also pose a risk to personal and operational security if placed in the wrong hands.

Whether in a professional or personal capacity, you should always consider what information you are revealing through any imagery you publish online. Your profile picture, for example, being someone in uniform is not recommended - especailly as even with your privacy settings tightened down, this image is always going to be 'public'.

Always consider how the images and videos you publish might be interpreted, and what level of information they are displaying. Remember, unless you have appropriate privacy settings activated, there is a strong chance your images can be viewed by the wider public. Consider whether you wish to identify yourself, your colleagues, family members or your location, and how you are representing your profession.

There are video clips and lots more information on the GOV.UK website.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

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