Communicate – Direct Messaging (DM) Apps

Communicating online carries greater risk than just consuming or creating content because it involves other people and their ability to influence or affect our behaviour.

This page looks exclusively at direct messaging (DM) apps, such as Snapchat and Whatsapp, not social media or gaming which also have messaging features. Dating apps, such as Grindr and Tinder may also be considered as Messaging apps but we do not currently have age appropriate content on those platforms.

The risks:

  • sharing private information
  • sharing or receiving content that is inappropriate, offensive or harmful
  • reading unreliable, or false, information
  • being groomed or exploited
  • being bullied
  • receiving inappropriate images or messages 
  • phishing scams

Becoming cyber resilient is the first step to being safer online. Talk to your learners about the devices and accounts that they use to access online information:

  • Make sure that platforms are protected by stronger passwords and 2FA is enabled to stop others from accessing the account without permission
  • Ensure they are aware of privacy settings, such as who can see or share your messages, media or location (Snapchat Snapmaps are enabled by default and allow other users to see your exact location)
  • Check that they are aware of the risks of grooming, cyberbullying and scams
  • Show them how to report concerns on the platform
  • Forward phishing messages to NCSC on 7726

Being more cyber resilient reduces the risk of internet safety issues arising. We all want the internet to be a more welcoming space for children and young people and that is why we promote this positive message of safe, smart and kind.

With your learners:

  • Are they aware of the risk of grooming – what it looks like, how it happens and how to report it?
  • Ensure that learners are aware of the risks of direct messaging (DMs) – could they be offensive, harmful or bullying to someone else?
  • Even though it may created and shared privately, it probably won’t stay private after you share it so, what does your content say about you?

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