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Social media, online dating, apps and digital footprints

When using social media accounts (such as Facebook and Twitter), it's important you:

  • pick a username that does not include your own name or date of birth
  • use a strong password and don't share this with anyone
  • use privacy features to restrict who can see your profile
  • be careful about what you post

You should not give away personal details, such as:

  • your address
  • phone number
  • school

You can find more advice on using social media on the Police Scotland website.

Find advice on passwords and using social media safely on the National Cyber Security Centre website.

Online dating

When using dating websites, you should:

  • choose which website you use carefully
  • protect your privacy
  • be careful if you decide to meet someone in person

You can find more advice on using online dating on the Police Scotland website.


When using apps, you should:

  • install them from a recognised app store, for example Google Play or Apple
  • be aware of costs, such as roaming and in-app purchases
  • be aware of what 'permissions' you grant

'Permissions' is where an app needs access to certain data on your smartphone or tablet.

For example, Google Maps might access your current location to give accurate directions.

You can find more advice on using apps on the Information Commissioner's Office website.

Instant messaging and picture apps

Instant messaging and picture apps are popular with children and teenagers.

For example:

  • instant messaging apps, such as WhatsApp
  • picture apps, such as Snapchat

You can find more advice about instant messaging and picture apps on the Get Safe Online website.

Digital footprints

When you post or look at anything online, you leave a trail of details and information. This is often referred to as a 'digital footprint'.

Digital footprints mean you never have complete privacy online. And you should be careful about what information you share.

You can find more advice about digital footprints on the Family Lives website.

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