Staying safe online isn’t hard and you don’t have to be a technology expert to follow a few simple rules to protect yourself or others. Remember, if you wouldn’t do it in the real world, then don’t do it online.
Why is it important to stay safe online?
Most of us are ‘connected’ via our laptops, mobile phones, tablets or personal computer. The potential for the internet to be a valuable and a fun resource for entertainment, making friends, keeping in touch and learning is huge. But if you use the internet, you could be at risk of illegal activity or abuse – be it bullying, fraud or something more serious. Unlike seeing someone face to face, on the net, people aren’t always what they first seem.
In the same way that you learn about safety when you leave the house, it is important to learn how to stay safe online. These are skills that will stay with you for life.
Some Golden Rules
- Don’t give out personal information such as your address or phone number.
- Don’t send pictures of yourself to anyone, especially indecent pictures.
- Don’t open emails or attachments from people you don’t know.
- Don’t become online ‘friends’ with people you don’t know.
- Never arrange to meet someone in person who you’ve met online unless you do so in a public space, like a cafe or library.
- If anything you see or read online worries you, tell someone about it.
The internet offers you a lot of freedom and this can lead some people to behave in ways they would not behave in public.
- say things in a status update, post or tweet they would never say face to face
- give out personal information about themselves or others (including photos) that they would normally keep private
A common example
You want to let your friends know that you have a new number or address and you do this by posting the information on your social media site. This potentially can be shared with many people; all of it out of your control. Even if you delete your post other people can share it before that and you may not know who has that information.
If in doubt
Listen to your instinct and tell someone.