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Protect your privacy on social networks

Social networks are a great way to keep in touch with family and friends, make new friends, look at photos, find out about events and much more.

However, on any social networking site, you must guard against people who want to steal your personal information. Use the privacy features on the site to restrict strangers’ access to your profile, and avoid publishing information that identifies you, such as your telephone number, address or date of birth.

Find more information about privacy settings on the Facebook and Twitter sites.

You can help protect your privacy by following these simple guidelines:

  • avoid picking a username that includes personal information, e.g. ‘joe_glasgow’ or ‘annajones1947’
  • set up a separate email account that doesn’t use your real name to register with the site - if you don’t want to use the site any more, you can simply stop using that email
  • use a strong password that can’t be easily guessed by others and opt for a random mix of upper and lower-case letters, numbers and keyboard symbols, e.g. use ‘f00Tba1!’ instead of ‘football’
  • be cautious of people you’ve just met online who ask you to reveal personal information or want to meet you very quickly.

Dating sites are very popular and lots of older people are finding them a great way to meet someone new. But if you arrange to meet someone, meet in a public place where there will be plenty of other people. Tell a friend where you’re going and arrange to call them when you’re safely back home.

Further information


Our Information guides are short and easy to digest, giving a comprehensive overview of the relevant topic. Factsheets are longer with more detail, and are aimed at professionals.

You can download other guides in our series from publications

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 169 2081

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