There are lots of very valuable websites that can help you with pretty much anything. Because there is so much on the internet, though, means that there can be people or websites that aren’t safe.
It’s easy to post information on the internet and we sometimes do this without thinking. It’s important to remember that once something is out there online we don’t have control of it. We might be able to delete it, but we won’t know if someone has made a copy of it and uploaded it somewhere else. YouTube will take down inappropriate or offensive content, but not always immediately. If you are logged in, you can ‘flag as inappropriate’ – see the link under the video itself.
Not sure about posting personal information? Don’t. It’s always better to stay safe if you’re unsure. You can always post it later if you find out the website is safe.
Someone asking you to send them pictures or information? Don’t. It’s not safe to send things directly to someone you don’t know in-person. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to, so just say no if it doesn’t feel right. Be very careful when giving information about where you live, where you go to school, and where you hang out at weekends. You never know who’s piecing together your story.
If someone is saying things that make you feel uncomfortable, or asking you to do things that seem wrong, save the conversation, block them and then report it.
Your personal details online need to be looked after so that someone else doesn’t use them. If someone has your details (like address and birthday) they might be able to pretend to be you online.
One of the ways someone might try to get your personal information is through phishing. This is when websites or emails pretend to be legitimate when they’re actually fake. An example could be a fake login page for a social media site – if you don’t realise it’s a fake you’ll put your login details into it, and now someone has that information.
There are some things you can look out for:
The internet is available for anyone to post things, and sometimes you might come across things you wish you hadn’t seen, even if you weren’t looking for them. If you see something that you just don’t like, go and tell an adult you trust. If you are accessing the internet from the Youth Café, speak to one of the staff.
Feeling pressured to do things you don’t want to
People who abuse young people online will manipulate friendships and pressure you into doing things you don’t want to. Examples of this can include talking about sexual things, asking you to do things on a webcam or persuading you to meet up.
The first thing to realise about this kind of pressure is that it is wrong. People who pressure young people into doing anything that they don’t feel comfortable with should be reported and blocked.
Never arrange to meet someone you don’t know if you met them on the internet.
On-line Safety for Kids: A parent’s guide to protecting children’s privacy (Secure Thoughts)
Better Internet for Kids (https://www.betterinternetforkids.eu/) – a site promoting safe digital habits for everyone. It also has blog posts for trending internet topics and even has a hotline where families can receive support, and report anything suspicious online.
Staying Safe Online: (https://www.childline.org.uk) – Awareness of the dangers on the Internet and how to deal with them including taking care of your digital footprint and support with bullying on social media.