Online Safety

The internet can be fun and a great way to talk to friends, play games, watch videos and listen to music, and almost every child and young person is now ‘connected’ to the internet via their laptops, mobile phones, tablets or personal computer. But if you use the internet, you could be at risk of illegal activity or abuse – be it bullying, fraud or something more serious. But not everyone online is real or honest about who they say they are and not all information on the web can be trusted.

 

 

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Tips For Staying Safe Online

  • Never use your real name in chat rooms
  • Don’t give out personal information such as your address, mobile number, passwords, school, the clubs you go to, photos of yourself - even if someone tells you things about themselves
  • Never respond to rude or mean messages (and don’t send any to other people)
  • Never create or post a video or picture you wouldn’t want shared
  • Only arrange to meet someone you have been chatting to with your parent’s/carer’s permission and at a time when they can come with you
  • Be careful about accepting messages if you don’t know or trust the person who sent them – they can contain nasty images or viruses that may damage your devices
  • Remember you can block people in a chat or instant messenger
  • Agree some rules with your parents about what’s OK to do online and what isn’t – it will save arguments later!
  • If anything makes you feel uncomfortable or worried, talk to your parents/carers/teachers about it

Gaming

Online gaming means you can play in real time with people across the world through a computer, games console, tablet or smartphone connected to the internet. Games can offer you a world of adventure to immerse yourselves in, but it’s important to understand how to stay safe and what games are appropriate for your age.

  • Gaming is a fun and sociable way to spend time, encouraging teamwork and developing skills. However:
  • Gaming
  •  Some games let you play and chat with anyone in the world. This means you might come across offensive language and bullying
  • Not everyone online is who they say they are. You should avoid giving out personal details that could identify you or your location
  • Some games encourage players to buy extra elements during the game – young people have been known to run up large bills without realising 

Bullying Online

When someone bully’s you online this is called Cyber bullying, don’t keep it to yourself or try to deal with it alone. Tell someone you trust as it can help to talk it through with someone, keep a record of the bullying but try not to respond to any messages, commenting or sharing could make the bullying worse. Inform the Police if there is any serious you. Cyber bullying is not against the law, but harassment or threatening behaviour is. That means if someone keeps making you feel scared on purpose, what they’re doing could be illegal 

Sexting

Sexting is when someone takes a sexually explicit picture or video of themselves and then sends it to someone else. Sometimes people who are trying to bully someone may ask for these kinds of images so they can send them on to other people.

When people talk about sexting, they usually mean sending and receiving:

  • naked pictures or ‘nudes’
  • ‘underwear shots’
  • sexual or ‘dirty pics’
  • rude text messages or videos

.When you’re under 18 it’s against the law for anyone to take or have a sexual photo of you – even if it’s a selfie.

They can be sent to or from a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend or someone you’ve met online. Sexting can easily happen. Things can go wrong – even when you didn’t mean for them to

Further information

The following organisations can also help you and give you free confidential advice:

Childnet’s mission is to work in partnership with others around the world to help make the internet a great and safe place for children. Online safety advice, activities, games and films for young people, parents, teachers and professionals

 CEOP website for children, parents and professionals which covers online safety and internet use. A website where you can report concerns. Are you worried about online sexual abuse or the way someone has been communicating with you online? Make a report to one of CEOP's Child Protection Advisors.

UK Safer Internet Centre has a hotline for reporting and removing sexual images of children online.  

Safety Net Kids have tips for staying safe online, mobile phone safety and if you are being bullied online.

Childline have lots of information on bullying and cyberbullying.