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Awareness, Education & Training
on CyberBullying Prevention

What are you signing up for when you create an Instagram profile?

We all recognise the above right? It’s that ubiquitous box that appears on just about every single thing you sign up for online these days. It’s the ‘I agree to the terms and conditions but I’m not going to read them’ box.

Now you might think there is nothing wrong with that, not least of which, because every body does it. But that does then beg the question. If no one reads the terms and conditions (aka the rules) how do we know if we are breaking them, or indeed if the company we signed up to are breaking them. With questions around privacy and ownership of information online, this habit we have formed of just ticking to get our instant gratification could be quite dangerous don’t you think?

Just like living in the UAE, you need to know what the rules of the playground are, then you decide whether you are going to play by them or not. And if you decide not to play by them, there is no argument when you have to face the consequences of breaking the rules.

What this means in the online sense is that most of us, specifically young people using these channels, are giving away far too much personal information about themselves, with little to no understanding of who then has access to that information.

This link is to a page that perhaps less than 1% of Instagram users have ever visited – https://help.instagram.com/478745558852511 it’s their terms of use page and when transcribed, totals 9 pages and 5116 words. Not your average bedtime reading material.

Jenny Afia a privacy lawyer with London based firm Schillings recently took on the task of translating Instagram’s terms and conditions after a study undertaken by the Growing Up Digital taskforce (of which Afia was a member) demonstrated that the terms and conditions were written to a Post Graduate understanding level and most teenagers found it ‘boring’ and ‘too difficult to understand’. Showing that even if they did choose to read it, they would be none the wiser when it came to the do’s and don’ts of Instagram usage. What Jenny did then, through a taxing and time consuming exercise, was condense the terms and conditions into 1 page. Some of which read as follows;

  • ‘Don’t bully anyone or post anything horrible about people’
  • ‘Officially you own any original pictures and videos you post, but we are allowed to use them, and we can let others use them as well, anywhere around the world. Other people might pay us to use them and we will not pay you for that’
  • ‘Although you are responsible for the information you put on Instagram, we may keep, use and share your personal information with companies connected with Instagram. This information includes your name, email address, school, where you live, pictures, phone number, your likes and dislikes, where you go, who your friends are, how often you use Instagram, and any other personal information we find such as your birthday or who you are chatting with, including in private messages (DMs)’.

A lot easier to follow and understand compared to the 9 pages and 5116 words currently available.  Read more of Jenny’s Washington post article here.

Terms and conditions are changed quite regularly on the social channels of choice and it’s our (the users) responsibility to know what we are signing up for and who has access to the information we are sharing. Be Aware and Stay Safer