Lots of children and young people use the Internet at school and at home. It can be a fun thing to do but there are dangers that you need to be aware of to keep you and your friends safe from harm.

The internet and social media accounts are a great way of staying in touch with your friends, sharing pictures and videos and playing games.

It is very important that you use these accounts safely and don’t give away information about yourself to people you really don’t know and trust. Remember that when you share things online, like pictures or videos, they can easily get into the hands of people you don’t know or trust.

You can discover lots of sites that are good and have fun activities, but some sites are not what you think they are. It is always wise to let your parents, or an adult that you trust, know which websites you are visiting.

Online abuse can involve cyberbullying, sexting or cyberstalking using social media accounts, emails, chat rooms and other online forums or websites.If someone is saying bad things or making you feel upset using the internet, you can block them or report them.

Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is when someone says nasty and hurtful things about you or someone you know whilst using online chatrooms, social media accounts like facebook and twitter or using emails and text messages.

Cyberbullying can often feel like it will never end because it is very difficult to get away from it. Nobody has to go through online bullying and the first step in stopping it is to tell someone about it.

You can find out more about cyberbullying and online bullying here.

Sexting

Sexting is usually deliberate and happens when someone takes an intimate or sexually explicit image of themselves and sends it to another person (for example a boyfriend or girlfriend). It can seem like a bit of fun but it can be really risky and have very serious consequences.

Sexting can also be illegal. Anyone under 18 who is sexting is likely to be committing one or more criminal offences. If someone is making you feel uncomfortable online about sex, or asking you to send them pictures of yourself, this can also be referred to as sexting.

You can find out more about sexting and the law on the Thinkuknow website or here.

Cyberstalking

Cyberstalking is when someone keeps contacting you online and you don’t want them to and have asked them to stop.

If someone is making you feel scared or upset when you’re online, tell someone you trust like your parent or guardian, your carer or a teacher. Nobody has the right to upset you and it’s not okay. There are lots of people who can help you.

Be Safe

  • Don’t give out personal details, photographs, or any other information that could be used to identify you, such as your family, where you live or the school you go to.
  • Don’t believe people always tell the truth – they may not be what they seem.
  • Never arrange to meet someone without first telling your parents, getting their permission and taking a responsible adult with you. The first meeting should always be in a public place.
  • Always stay in public areas where other people are around.
  • Don’t open an attachment or file unless you know and trust the person who has sent it.
  • Never respond to anything you find upsetting – save it or print it, log off, and tell an adult.

You can read more on this E-safety advice for children and young people

If you are worried about something you can visit these websites