Find out how you can keep yourself safe while you swipe, browse, post and share…
We all use social media and the internet every single day and we couldn’t imagine life without it. While it’s a great way to keep in touch with friends, play games and browse social media, the internet also has its downfalls. Now, more than ever, we need to be alert to our online security, be wary of scammers or predators, and know how to spot fake websites and misinformation. We also need to be aware of our behaviour and the words we use, as well as the images we post. It can be difficult to navigate these online pitfalls but here’s how you can stay safe:
1. Spot the scams! Scam emails and sites are often easy to spot, but the more sophisticated scams can be tricky to identify. If something seems too good to be true, then that’s because it usually is. Check emails and websites properly before clicking any links and look for misspelled words or bad punctuation as these are often indicators that the communication is not genuine.
2. Take a moment before responding. Read everything properly and ask yourself if it seems legit. Be wary of phishing emails and attempts – this is when someone tries to steal your personal information to gain access to your accounts. Always check with an adult if you’re unsure about anything you see, read or receive online. Trust your gut and be cautious if you suspect something isn’t quite right.
3. Use passwords to keep your personal information safe. Try to use different passwords for different accounts and make them hard to guess to increase your security.
4. Always think before you post.Remember that once you click send, you can’t take it back. Be kind with your words and don’t write anything online that you wouldn’t say in real-life. Treat others as you would like to be treated. If you see bullying online, speak out against it and tell an adult what you’ve seen.
5. If someone is making you feel uncomfortable, tries to get you to share private information, or asks you to send personal images, stop the conversation immediately and tell an adult. Take screenshots of anything that makes you feel uncomfortable and block and report the person who sent it, if you can.
6. If you see something online that makes you feel upset or frightened, tell an adult. Sometimes friends might share or send videos with unsuitable content or something we don’t want to see. Try to avoid clicking on videos without knowing what it contains as it may contain harmful images or upsetting scenes.
7. Be careful who you befriend on social media. Make a simple rule of not accepting friend requests from people you’ve never met in real-life. A profile picture may seem perfectly innocent and show a teenager who looks a lot like you, but you never know who could be behind the account. Be wary to protect yourself from catfishing.
8. If someone is harassing you online or on social media, tell an adult you trust. It’s never OK for anyone to send nasty messages, upsetting images, or to pressure you into doing something you don’t feel comfortable doing. It’s also against the law for a person to share personal information or images of you without your permission so if you’re experiencing this, or know of someone who is, tell a teacher or parent who can help.
Learn more about staying safe online: