Young people are regularly online using different websites, apps, or gaming services. It can be hard for parents to keep an eye on what their family are doing.
There are some risks of using the online services that young people need to be aware of. If you want a quick summary, The Unstoppables have created some top tips for staying safe online for you.
The online world is a place with so much content it can be hard to know what you want to look at. Some web pages, games or videos are intended for adults and not children. They may for example promote illegal substances, or be offensive and rude about other people. They may show violent or sexual behaviour or bad language. If you are concerned about anything you see, talk to a trusted adult. They may help you report it. The NSPCC talks you through Reporting your online safety concerns in different situations.
The video below, called Safety Net, tells you more about sharing information, things to keep private and what to do when you see something you do not like. You will see ‘PAUSE’ icons appear in the corner of the screen during the film and these might be useful points to think about, explain or discuss the information with someone you trust.
It is a good idea to keep the devices you go online with secure. This is to stop your personal data being shared without your permission. See the National Cyber Security Centre for more information about securing your devices.
Social media can seem like a great place to catch up on what your friends, family or celebrities are up to. You can learn and appreciate different perspectives and worldviews to better understand the world around you and build up your knowledge on a range of topics. But there can be some dangers to using social media.
It is difficult to keep things private online. Even messages sent between friends get passed on and accounts can be hacked. You should not do anything you would not want thousands of people to see. Images and content are your personal digital footprint for years to come. Once you have put it online, you cannot get it back – other people can share it. You should have the safest privacy settings on your account set. So, all your personal information is stored properly.
People may hide behind fake profiles for dishonest reasons and the person you have been chatting could easily be someone with bad intentions. You should never give out personal information to someone you do not know online. If you find some content or someone’s profile concerns you, use the report problem button or speak to a person you trust.
Online gaming can seem like a fun thing to do with your friends. Can I Play That? is an online resource run and written entirely by disabled writers that allows people to know before they play whether or not a game will be accessible to them. You can also find out about games, equipment and software suitable for physically disabled players at Game Access. Many online games have multiplayer options that give players the chance to talk to each other in-game. You can bond over playing a game you both or all like.
You should stick to playing online video games with people you know. Sometimes you will play an online game with other people. This may be friends of yours that you invite. It may be people you haven’t met before. For people you have not met before, do not share personal details with them, agree to meet them, or have private chats with them.
Some games will have forum options to talk about playing the game. People will also talk about other things on these sites. Use the same tips to keep safe as for social media.
You can also meet people and play computer games together at an organised club. Find out more about Switch Clubs and Game Changer on the inclusive youth groups and clubs page.
Cyber-bullying could be on a smart phone, computer, laptop, tablet, or online gaming platform. It can take place on a range of online or mobile services, such as text, email, social networking sites, video-hosting sites, messenger, photo sharing services, chat, webcams, visual learning environments and online games.
If this happens to you, it is important to not respond. Most people who cyberbully and troll others are looking for a response. Some platforms will give you the option to mute the person and their comments. That way you do not have to be exposed to their hurt and hate.
If you think you are being bullied, the first step is to seek help from someone you trust such as your parents, a teacher, or another trusted adult. Consider blocking the bully and formally reporting their behaviour on the platform itself. Social media companies are obligated to keep their users safe. Try to get documentary evidence if you can. By pressing the ‘print screen’ button on your computer or taking a screenshot on your mobile, you should be able to print of a hard copy of the threatening text or images. Place it in a safe place, both on and offline.
Online scams are schemes to con you out of your money using your computer and the internet, either through fake websites or emails. Although there are many ways scammers can get into your computer to steal your money and identity, there are ways you can protect yourself.