Staying Safe Online
There are so many things to love about being connected, but the internet is also being misused and abused every day, and children and young people are paying the price.
Staying Safe Online
You probably can’t imagine a day without the internet. The internet is a great tool to connect with friends and family, connect with the world, learn new things, build digital and other skills, share photos, videos and opinions. Done right, the internet can be a game changer for children and young people, connecting them with a world of opportunity for communication, learning and freedom of expression. There are so many things to love about being connected, but the internet is also being misused and abused every day, and children and young people are paying the price.
Here are some tips on how we make the internet a safer place for all of us.
One thing to always remember is that - once posted online, it can’t be taken back.
Share with care
How do we make the internet a safer place for all of us?
Online actions can have real-world consequences
The photos, videos, messages and comments you share, can affect you, the people in your life or other people on the internet.
Before you share anything ask yourself:
- How would I feel if this content ends up somewhere I didn’t intend it to be?
- Will someone be hurt or offended by what I am sharing?
Your post might reach more people than you think
Even if you post or message privately, you can’t completely control who sees what you posted. Taking screenshots or re-sharing your post by someone else is always possible.
Before you share anything ask yourself:
- How will I feel someone other than the person I am sharing with sees this?
- What’s the potential my content being misused or used in another context?
Ask before you share someone’s photo or video
It can be embarrassing, unsafe or even illegal to share protos and videos without having permission to share them.
Before you share a photo or video with other people in it, get their OK.
Think before you:
Before you accept a friend request you should have a look at their profile – and try to see who they are. Remember: Sometimes people pretend to be someone they are not, and it’s hard to know if they are telling the truth.
Do you have friends in common? Are you from the same town? Don’t feel pressured to accept random friend requests. Check your privacy settings so that people you don’t know don’t see any information that you don’t want them to see.
Don’t spread rumours or share hurtful or embarrassing stories or photos. What may seem like a harmless joke to one person can be deeply hurtful to others.
Think twice before you click ‘send’, especially if you’re upset or angry. Once you share a message, photo or video, it’s hard to control what happens to it. Taking it down is nearly impossible.
And remember you have the right to privacy – and so do others. It is not okay to log into other people’s accounts or to use their phones without their permission.
You can change the privacy settings on your social media platforms to help you control who sees your information – and all the locations where you’ve checked in.
Think carefully about what you share with whom. If your privacy settings are not secure, anyone can see your information. Also remember that people can take screenshots of things you share, even when your privacy settings are restricted, or you share in private messages or group.
Don’t share personal information like your address, phone number or bank details. And definitely don’t share your passwords!
Remember: Sharing your phone or social media passwords with a friend is not a sign or a prove of love or loyalty. Your passwords are your private information.
Here’s what you can do today:
- Be kind online. Support your friends by sending positive messages, a smile or a like. Use the power of the Internet to spread positivity.
- Be supportive online. If you think you have seen someone else being bullied, speak up. Reach out to that person and show your support. Your words can make a difference.
- Always be mindful that your actions can harm someone. If you feel your behaviour towards someone falls under the category of bullying, you can make a change. Stop and reach out to someone for support. Apologize, admit your mistake. Be kind, be a hero today.
- Speak up. If you see a friend post something they should think twice about, tell them. You might help reduce future harm.
- Stop the spread of harmful, untrue messages and posts by not passing them on to others.
- Share these videos to spread the word about online safety and get your friends talking.
- Check your settings and your passwords: is your password 12345? Have you shared it with a friend? Who can see what you post online? When’s the last time you reviewed your privacy settings?
- It starts with you! Don’t spread rumours, don’t share or reshare stories or photos that are intended to be hurtful or humiliate. What may seem like a harmless joke to one person can be deeply hurtful to others.
If you’ve seen something on social media that made you upset or hurt you, you can report it. If you are added to a group by a friend and you don’t want to be there, immediately leave the group and tell your friend. On many social media platforms, you can report a specific post or photo if it is against the community standards. Most social media platforms let you ‘block’ a person so that you don’t see their content and they cannot contact you or send you messages.
Reporting abuse/safety pages:
Don’t keep your fears to yourself
If you are worried about your safety or something that has happened to you online, urgently speak to an adult you trust.
Learn more about Cyberbullying: What is it and how to stop it
10 things teens want to know about cyberbullying.
Parents and teachers
Children need help to learn how to use the internet in the same way we help teach them how to cross the road.
The best way to protect children online is to talk with them. Teach children how to “be internet awesome”
BE INTERNET ALERT
Don't Fall for Fake
It’s important to help children become aware that people and situations online aren’t always as they seem. Discerning between what’s real and what’s fake is a very real lesson in online safety.
Know the Signs of a Potential Scam
- If statements about “winning” or getting something for “free” feel too good to be true, they most likely are;
- Fair exchanges shouldn’t involve giving away any personal information;
- Critical thinking should be applied before acting or reacting online. Phishing attempts and efforts to steal information (like login or bank account details) could be through pretending to be a trusted contact in an email, text, or other online communication.
BE INTERNET STRONG
Secure Your Secrets
Personal privacy and security are just as important online as they are offline. Safeguarding valuable information helps children avoid damaging their devices, reputations, and relationships.
Learn How to Create a Strong Password
- Make it memorable, but avoid using personal information like names or birthdays;
- Use a mix of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers;
- R3pl@ce le++ers wit# sYmb0ls & n^mb3rs 1ike Thi$;
- Do not use the same password on multiple sites. Create a few different variations of the same password for different accounts.
BE INTERNET SMART
Share with Care
Content online can spread fast, and without some forethought, children can find themselves in tricky situations that have lasting consequences.
The solution? Learning how to share different types of content (like photos, videos and news) with those they know and those they don’t.
- Encourage thoughtful sharing by treating online communication like face-to-face communication; if it isn’t right to say, it isn’t right to post;
- Discuss examples on what kind of communication is (and isn’t) appropriate;
- Stress on keeping personal details about family and friends private.
BE INTERNET KIND
Set an Example
- Always communicate with others applying the concept of “treat others as you would like to be treated”;
- Use the power of the Internet to spread positivity;
- Stop the spread of harmful/untrue messages/posts by not passing them on to others;
- Respect others’ differences and opinions.
- Block and report mean-spirited or inappropriate persons or pages online;
- Make an effort to provide support to those being bullied;
- Encourage children to speak up against and report cyberbullying.
Your children will face different challenges each day, but the only constant must be your presence and willingness to listen and help them with unconditional love!