Find out how to block the trolls, swerve the scammers and deal with nudes with our online safety tips.
Trolling is when someone deliberately makes a comment or shares a picture or post online with the sole purpose of upsetting, angering or teasing another person. Trolling is a form of cyber-bullying.
The best way to deal with trolls is to ignore and block them. They feed on attention, and, without it, they often get bored and move on. Here’s a 5-step plan to beat the trolls:
- Never feed a troll. Try to resist the temptation to respond to their comments or to engage with them at all.
- Always take a screenshot just in case you do need to take the issue further. You might need to report the troll at some point so it’s always handy to have evidence of their original post.
- Many celebrities and influences experience trolls every single day. Their social media feeds are full of hurtful, negative comments about their appearance and personal lives. If you see a trolling comment, don’t engage. Simply ignore, report and block.
- If you receive a particularly nasty comment from a troll which makes you feel threatened or frightened for your own safety, you should tell an adult immediately. You can then report it to the social media platform and the police, if necessary.
SEXTING & NUDES
Sexting is when you send explicit messages or texts or share images of your body. It’s important to know the law around sending nudes or sexualised messages. If you are under 18, it is illegal for anyone to share sexualised images of you. It is also illegal for someone to send sexualised images to you. If you are over 18, it is against the law for someone to share pictures of you without your consent. There are laws and support in place to help you.
“I’m being asked to send nudes…”
It’s important to know that it’s never OK for someone to pressure you into sending sexual images or messages. If you have sent something and you’re worried about what might happen, you can get more advice here.
“Someone is threatening to share the nude photos they have of me…”
If someone is threatening to share your nudes, this is against the law. If you are under 18 and someone is threatening to share images of you, you must tell an adult straight away. If you are over 18 and someone has posted an image or video of you without your permission, you can get help from the Revenge Porn Helpline: https://revengepornhelpline.org.uk/
“Someone has sent me an unwanted nude pic…”
If you’ve been sent a nude image or something that makes you feel uncomfortable, end the conversation and tell an adult you trust. It can be shocking and upsetting to open a message to find a sexually explicit image that you did not want to see. You need the support and help of a parent or adult to help you deal with it. Get more advice on how to cope with seeing distressing content here.
Catfishing is when someone uses someone else’s photos or information to pretend to be someone they’re not. It can be difficult to spot a catfish but here are some tips to help prevent you from being catfished:
- 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.
- Look at their account to see if it appears to be legitimate. Red flags include a newly created account, minimal interaction on their newsfeed and very few photos of themselves.
- Never give money to someone who asks for it online.
- Set your social accounts to ‘private’.
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. To stay safe, you can:
- Check emails, texts 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.
- 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.
- Be cautious of any ‘urgent’ emails or messages telling you things like, “you have 24 hours to respond” or “failure to respond will mean you incur a fine”. This type of threatening email is most usually a criminal scam.
- 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.
- Not sure if an email is a scam? If you have received an email which you’re not quite sure about, forward it to email@example.com to be checked over.
Get more help on staying safe online here.