The internet is an exciting place; it’s a place full of interesting, informative and sometimes random things, where you can find out information about any topic, listen to music, see pictures and videos, play games, get together with friends and even make new ones. The internet has a lot of positive uses and it’s difficult to imagine our lives today without it!
However, the internet can also be harmful if it isn’t used safely. Although most people use the internet for all the right reasons, there are some people out there who use the internet to harm and exploit others. The internet makes some people feel invincible and leads them to do things and take risks they would never dream of in the real world.
The main place where this can be a problem is on social networks, especially if you make friends online with people you haven’t met in real life.
When you’re online you may feel a lot braver and more confident. You may even exaggerate a little to make yourself exciting. If you’re on a site where you have a profile, you might only choose to use a picture of yourself where you look cool or you look pretty.
You need to consider whether;
- your new friend really is into the same things as you.
- they’ve exaggerated things about themselves.
- the picture on their profile is really even a picture of them.
- you want to tell someone you don’t really know so much about yourself.
- you want to send pictures to someone you don’t know.
Hints for staying safe online:
- Don’t share personal information.
- Don’t give away passwords.
- Think twice before you post a picture or video.
- Check your privacy settings so you know who can see what.
- Make sure you know how to block and report.
- Never arrange to meet someone you’ve met online, even if you feel like you’ve known them for a long time.
People may also be bullied online. For more information about bullying, visit our bullying webpage.
Just Like Me?
If you’re worried about something you’ve seen online or you need some help and advice, there’s lots of help out there:
Thinkuknow.co.uk gives tips for using the internet and is specific to your age group.
My Safety Net gives general tips on how to stay safe online.
UK Safer Internet provides resources for young people aged 11-19 to encourage safe internet usage.