No matter how old you are, you should always put your personal safety first when connecting with others online, and parents should also make sure their children and teenagers are protected online.
The internet is a major part of most people’s lives so it is important that we all know how to use it safely.
Unfortunately, the internet has become a place that offenders have taken advantage of to meet, groom and then sexually exploit young people.
Young people are more computer literate and confident in using the internet, but they may not understand or acknowledge the necessity to protect themselves online.
So it’s up to adults – parents, carers and teachers to work with young people to advise them about how to protect themselves while on the internet.
This advice also applies to people of any age – don’t change how you behave just because you’re using the internet – just react like you would in real life.
Safer internet tips for children and young people
* Never give out personal details to online friends if you do not know them offline.
* Remember people online may not be who they say they are – use caution when chatting to people who you do not already know.
* Never arrange to meet up with strangers without an adult present who you trust.
* Think carefully about the information and pictures you post on your profiles.
* Once published online, anyone can change or share these images of you.
* Don’t open files from people you do not know – they may contain viruses which could damage your computer.
* If you feel uncomfortable about anything that happens online tell a trusted adult.
Safer internet tips for adults
* Make sure your firewall and anti-virus software is up to date.
* Use different passwords for different sites.
* Use secure and official sites (look for the padlock sign) when making purchases on-line.
* Keep back up copies and print outs of on-line documents.
* Do not disclose bank details as proof or age or identity.
* Don’t reveal personal details to people you meet, or who contact you, on-line.
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