Keeping Safe Online
We know that most children and young people love the internet and technology, and so do we. But we also know that sometimes, not everything online is as safe as we might like it to be. Examples could include:
- Seeing things we don’t really need or want to see, like stuff that is scary, violent or slightly…embarrassing
- Being contacted by people who try to hurt us or harm us in some way, like bullying, grooming or someone sending us a ‘virus’
- Behaving in a way online that might put us at risk, like sharing too much personal information or sending inappropriate images or videos of ourselves
Knowing that things can go wrong, we want to give you some information to help you to keep yourself safe online, and importantly, to know what to do if you need to report someone or something or get help.
The important thing to remember is that there is lots of help out there. You just need to know where to find it.
And remember, although the internet can be risky at times, we think it is a fantastic tool that can be used in so many good ways. We really want you to be able to use the internet and technology for all of the good it offers, without all of the bad.
So here are some common questions and answers that you might find useful.
Where Can I Go For More Information About Keeping Safe Online?
There is lots of information on the internet about keeping yourself safe online. Below are just some of the websites you might find useful:
Think U Know is a website run by CEOP (who are basically the internet police). On here, you will find lots of information, games and videos relevant to your own age group. On this website you can also find the Click CEOP button. You can use this button make a report to CEOP if you are concerned about your safety online or the safety of a friend. The Click CEOP button is also on our home page.
Childnet is another really good website that contains lots of information about different types of online risks. You can find specific information about cyber bullying, online grooming, gaming, apps and lots more.
The Safer Internet Centre is another site providing lots of information about online safety, including checklists for popular social media sites that will help you to improve your privacy settings and keep yourself safer on social media:
I Need to Speak to Someone. Who Can Help?
It is really good that you want to speak to someone, and the good thing is there are lots of people around who can help.
Firstly, you could try talking to a friend or a trusted adult. This might be a parent or carer, another family member, or may be someone at your school. It doesn’t have to be your teacher. It can be anyone you feel comfortable speaking to.
If you don’t feel able to speak to somebody face to face, you could try speaking to any of the following:
Childline provide confidential advice for children and young people on the phone and online. You can call Childline on 0800 11 11 – the number is free, and it won’t show up on your phone bill. If you would prefer, you can speak to a counsellor online.
CEOP is the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (a little bit like the internet police). On the CEOP website, you can make a report if you a worried about your safety or the safety of someone else. It is easy to do, just look out for the ‘Click CEOP’ button. The Click CEOP button is also on our webpage.
In Milton Keynes, our local police service is Thames Valley Police. If you are in danger, or are worried about your safety or the safety of somebody else, you can contact the police. The police have a non-emergency number – 101. If it is an emergency, always dial 999. You can also report things to the police online, by clicking here.
If you are reading this section, you are probably desperate for more information as soon as possible.
You are also likely to be feeling quite scared or anxious. This is totally understandable. But remember, there are lots of people you can talk to for help and support (see above), and in this situation, it is really important that you tell a trusted adult as soon as possible.
If you’re not quite ready to talk to somebody at the moment, the ‘So You Got Naked Online’ guide below has been put together by the South West Grid for Learning, and has lots of information that you might find useful.
Can I trust everything I see or read online?
Unfortunately, there are lots of websites and social media posts on the internet that contain information that is inaccurate or untrue. Consider the following when deciding whether you can trust what you read and see online:
- Remember that with apps such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, people can share their own views and opinions that may not be based on truth. Don’t believe everything you see online.
- Some websites or posts might use the word “official”, but this might not be the case. Lots of companies use words like “official” or “genuine” to gain your trust.
- When you use a search engine, the results at the top are not necessarily the most reliable. They are instead more likely to be the ones relevant to what you have searched rather than reliable. They may also be advertised links where companies pay for their links to appear at the top of search results.