The internet can be an excellent way of keeping in touch with people, either on your computer or phone. However, remember once you post something, you can quickly lose control of what happens to that information; anyone can save and repost it. So be careful what you write. Video hosting sites are another easy way for inappropriate material to be shared with thousands of people, so if you are being asked to do anything you feel uncomfortable about, block them and report it.
Chatrooms and Apps
Chat rooms and chat apps can be a safe place to have a laugh if you remember a few important things. All you need to do is keep your wits about you, trust your judgement and not get carried away.
- People on the internet may not be who they say they are
- Do not give out any contact details or addresses for home or school
- If you are posting a profile on the net or by post don’t include any information which could help to identify you online again. That means your personal email address, mobile phone number, addresses and your photographs.
- Be careful of pictures you put out on the internet either of you or your friends, once these are out there you have no control over what happens to them. People can use and manipulate these images.
What is Grooming?
Paedophiles use chat rooms for something called ‘grooming’. They will chat to you until they have your trust. They may pretend to be the same age as you and even to have the same interests as you. They will probably spend months trying to find things out about you and becoming your friend. They may try to make you say or do something you don’t want.
- When someone you are talking to keeps trying to get your address or phone number
- When someone wants you to keep your chats a secret from other people
- When someone wants you to send pictures to them that make you feel uncomfortable
- If someone wants to meet you, but doesn’t want you to tell anyone
If you spot any of these signs, you should always let an adult you trust know, your parents, carers, teacher or youth worker
Young People’s Tips
- Don’t have an easy password and never share it
- Don’t give out personal details such as your school or where you live
- Set your profile to private in the settings
- Don’t add strangers as friends
- Don’t think you know someone just because your friend does
- Be careful what you click onto, it may be risky to yourself or your computer.
- Don’t post photos you may not want to share with the whole world
- Be aware of cyber bullies, report it if it happens!
- Don’t be a cyberbully, it’s an offence