Welcome to your ultimate internet survival guide. Below are the tips and tricks you’ll need to stay safe online.
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Visit thinkuknow.co.uk for information about staying safe online from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre.
The Internet is a real community of people who are connected by computers, so treat people that you don’t know on the Internet as strangers that you might meet in a street.
Do not give out any personal information related to your family, friends or yourself like full names, addresses, telephone or mobile numbers or those of your parents. Other information like the name and location of your school or details of school activities can also identify you to others, whether you are in a chat room, message board or newsgroup. Sometimes there are people who watch out for such information, and they can put together a picture of your activities over a period of time that could be several weeks. So be careful with what you say, and never give out your personal details.
- Be aware when choosing your chat username or email username not to pick a provocative name as you would be more likely to be sent provocative emails or harassed online.
- Never agree to meet someone whom you’ve met through the Internet, in real life without your parent’s permission, and if they agree, never go alone, but go with a trusted adult.
- Use your common sense. Someone you are chatting to may not be who they say they are.
- Do not fill out forms online without consulting your parents or teachers. There are websites which seek personal information and which use this information for marketing or other commercial purposes. Always check a website’s privacy statement. This describes what a website will do with your information.
- Do not open an email from someone you do not know as you may download viruses (which even come from people you do know), or it may have contents that can upset you.
- Many chain emails or emails with virus warnings are hoaxes. Before you forward virus warnings to your friends and family, check that it is not a hoax.
- Never send pictures of yourself or any other personal material to a friend you met online without consulting your parents first.
- Always tell your parents/teachers if you come across stuff on the Internet which makes you feel uncomfortable, or if someone on the Internet harasses you or threatens you.
Never respond to provocative, rude, obscene or threatening messages (whether in chat, newsgroups or message boards) which make you feel uncomfortable. Tell your parents or teachers about such messages and where possible, save a copy of the message so that your parents or teachers can forward it to your Internet Service Provider, or use it to make a police report.
Always assess the information you read on websites. Because its on the Internet does not mean that its always truthful information, especially when it comes to health issues, or when you are doing research for homework. Check that the website you are getting your information from is a reliable and reputable one, not one built on hearsay.
How do I create a safe profile?
When you’re online, you won’t always know who you’re chatting to. Most social networking sites allow you to change the security settings on your profile, so it can only seen by people that you allow to see it. They also allow you to choose who you are friends with. Below are some tips to help you stay safe:
- Never use your real name
- Never tell anyone any personal things about yourself or your family like your address, phone number, the name of your school
- Instead of posting a photo of you, you could use a picture you like or a photo of your favourite band instead.
- Don’t post any photos or videos that you wouldn’t be happy for your parents or teacher to see. Once they are up online they can be copied and posted in other places where you can’t get rid of them.
- Keep your passwords private. Only tell your immediate family.
- DO NOT TELL YOUR FRIENDS
What else can I do to stay safe?
Once you have registered and set up your profile you can start adding your friends and sending them messages. As long as you are careful online, you can have a lot of fun with your mates.
- Don’t add anyone you don’t know to your friend list, even if they say they know you. If you don’t know them, don’t add them. Your friends are your CLOSE friends that you can totally trust and enjoy each others company.
- If someone contacts you or one of your friends with weird or nasty messages, don’t reply to them but do save the messages. Tell someone you trust such as a parent as soon as possible and show them what you have been sent.
- If you are writing a blog, be careful what you write in it. Don’t give away too many details about yourself.
- Don’t arrange to meet someone that you have met online. Some people lie online; they may not be who they say they are.
- If you are contacted by someone that you are unsure of on a forum, contact the forum administrator.
- Avoid sites that are meant for adults.
Is it ok to meet someone I have chatted to online?
It is not a good idea to arrange to meet people that you have chatted to online, as you can never be sure if they are who they say they are. If you do decide to meet up with them, tell someone you trust, such as a parent, that you want to do this. Arrange to meet in a public place and take a trusted adult with you.
What about staying safe when I’m using my mobile?
- Keep your phone with you at all times. If you are worried about someone taking it at school or if you are out, leave it at home.
- Only give your mobile number to your friends and people that you trust.
- Don’t lend your phone to someone you don’t know or trust, or put it in a place where other people could get hold of it.
- Most phones allow you to lock your phone with a PIN code. If you don’t have the code you can’t unlock it, so if anyone steals your phone they won’t be able to use it.
- If someone is pressuring you into giving them your number, tell someone about it such as a teacher or a parent.
The above text is taken from www.childline.org.uk