Using the net safely
Loads of people enjoy using the Internet. It's a great place to keep in touch with friends and find out information on all sorts of things, but you need to remember to keep safe while in cyberspace.
Many of us now enjoy access to the web via a computer at home, work, school or even on your mobile phone. It's important to think about what kind of information you give out, what you say and what you do.
Zip it, block it, flag it
The UK Council for Child Internet Safety have produced a code for staying safe online
Keep your personal stuff private and think about what you do or say online.
Block people who send nasty messages and don't open unknown links and attachments.
Flag it up with someone you trust if anything upsets you or someone asks to meet you offline.
Never give out any personal information such as your home address, phone number, or school to anyone you talk to online, even if you are offered free samples, gifts or information.
If you have your own website or pages on social networking sites, remember that these are public sites and anyone can see them. So...
- Always think carefully about what you put on your site, especially photos.
- Instead of putting up a picture of yourself you could draw an image, or upload something a bit abstract.
- Remember that people who contact you may not be who they say they are. Anyone can say that they share your interests and are the same age...but not everyone is as they seem.
- Never arrange a face-to-face meeting on your own with anyone you've met on the Internet. If they want to meet you, tell your parents/guardians and friends. If you still decide to go ahead and meet up, choose a busy public place and take someone with you.
- Don't respond to threatening or obscene messages. No matter how irritating or rude they are - tell your parents/guardians, block the individual and report them to the site and/or CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre). You can do this directly or using the "Click CEOP" button if the website has one.
- Be careful if you receive an email message from someone you don't know. It could contain a virus at the very least, which can mess up your computer.
- If you come across an offensive website, it is really important that you report this. Tell your parent/guardian or contact the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).
- If you have found something offensive on a website make a note of its address and report it. If it's a newsgroup article take details of the sender and server provider. If it's an email message, note who sent it and its content.
Taking action like this helps to make sure that the web is safe and enjoyable for everyone.
Worried that what you are posting is being seen by people you don't want to see your profiles? Why not adjust your privacy settings. For more information on how to change your privacy settings on Facebook visit the privacy section of the Facebook website.
It is also important to remember to sign out of Facebook whenever you are finished, or else people, you may not want, to can hijack your account. This is often done in the form of inappropriate comments and can reflect badly on you if the wrong person is looking in!
In October 2013, Facebook changed it's privacy settings allowing 13-17 year olds to have their posts available to the public, meaning anything they post could be seen by everyone who clicks on their page. If you are making your profile public, remember to be careful about what you are posting as potentially anyone could see it!