Online safety tips
The internet is great for many things like online shopping, chatting to your friends, researching topics for school or college, finding out the latest news, catching up on your favourite TV programmes and playing games. To stay safe on the internet, you do have to be smart. As long as you are careful with what you say and what you do, there is no reason why you can’t have lots of fun online.
So, what are the things to look out for?
When you log in to some websites, for example Facebook, you have to create an online profile. This is good because you can choose what you want to say and how you want other people to see you. Just remember that you should not share too much. Never give out your full name, home address, phone number, date of birth, passwords, names of family members or credit card details.
Social networking sites are created so that you can easily share information. Their default settings (what happens automatically) will allow other people that don’t know you to read all about you. This means you should always check the settings for your personal profile. Never rely on the website you are visiting to do this for you. For example, in Facebook you can check this by selecting ‘Edit profile’. You can then choose who can view each piece of information in your profile by clicking on the arrow to the right of the friends icon.
It is important to pick a password that no one will guess so that they cannot log in to a site and pretend to be you. It is best to change your password often and use numbers as well as letters. It may seem ok to share your passwords with your best friend or boyfriend/girlfriend but try not to do this as they may be able to pretend to be you and write things that you don’t like if you have an argument.
Rude or inappropriate content
Before you write anything on the internet, or upload any pictures, think about who might see them. If you are adding something that you would be happy for your grandparents or teacher to read, then it’s ok. If not, you may want to think again! In the future your content could be read by a potential employer or university.
Responding to unknown requests
It is important not to respond to messages from someone you don’t know. All sorts of people might try to contact you online, to sell you something, to advertise something new or to invite you to an event or to meet them. If you don’t know the person who sent you the request, ALWAYS ignore it. It is not a good idea to arrange to meet someone you have chatted to online. They may not be who they say they are and you could be putting yourself in danger. If you do decide to meet up with an online friend, always tell a trusted adult and arrange to meet in a public place.
If you are getting harassed by someone you don’t know online you can report them to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (CEOP.)
Covering your tracks
Sometimes you may not want other people to see the websites you have visited. You can keep your visit to Voice’s website, or any website, secret by clicking on the hide page button. This will immediately take you away from our website to the Google homepage. All you need to do is press ‘back’ if you want to come back to Voice’s website again when you are on your own.
Bullying can happen to anyone at any age. Cyber bullying is when a person, or group of people, writes something about you on the internet, a forum, social networking site or mobile phone that is mean, threatening or abusive. Cyberbullying is different to other kinds of bullying because it can happen 24 hours a day and can reach you even when you are at home. This means it should be taken seriously. No one has the right to make you feel upset or scared. If you are upset by anything that has been written about you, you should speak to a trusted adult like a parent, foster carer or teacher. It is always a good idea to keep a record of what has been written so that you can show it to other people. If you don’t want to speak to someone you know, you can call Childline on 0800 1111. You can also report the bullies to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (CEOP).
Learn about copyright and file sharing
It is a good idea to learn about copyright laws. You may want to share images, songs or files with your friends but remember to check whether it is ok to do this or you could be breaking the law. If you are unsure, you can visit www.kidsmart.org.uk for more information.
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre has been set up to protect children and young people when they are online. You can visit their website, Think U Know to find lots more advice and information about online safety. Look out for this button if you need to report anything you see online.