Staying safe online

When you're online it's important to stay safe and make sure you don't share things that could put you in danger. This advice will help you stay safe online.

Ways of keeping safe online

The internet is a great way to connect with your friends and learn new things. But it's also important to stay safe. 

There are a few ways you can help make sure you're not in danger when you use the internet. 

Top 5 tips for keeping safe online:

  1. Be careful what you share
    Once something is online, it’s out of your control. If you don’t want your parents or teachers to see it, don’t post it.
  2. Don't meet people you don't know in person
    Even if you get on with them online, you never know who they really are
  3. Use a complex password
    It should be hard for other people to guess your password and it's a good idea to change it regularly.
  4. Check your privacy settings
    Check who can see what you post and whether your accounts are public or private.
  5. Talk about it
    If you see something online that makes you upset or uncomfortable, talk to an adult you trust.

Keeping your device safe

Use anti-virus software
You can get anti-virus software for mobiles as well as tablets, laptops and PCs. Make sure that you keep it updated or ask an adult to help you.

Check a website is secure
Before entering private information such as passwords or payment details, look for the padlock symbol after the web address or 'https' in front of the web address in your browser.

Think before you click
If you receive an email from a stranger, think before clicking on a link or an attachment - it could contain a virus.

Cover your webcam
If you're not using your webcam:

  • unplug it
  • cover the lens
  • point it at a blank wall
  • turn off your device when you're not using it.

Check your privacy settings
Check the settings on your apps and devices regularly to see what’s being shared. Switch off location sharing and set your social media accounts to private. Don’t add people unless you know who they are and block anyone you don’t want seeing your posts.

Check what’s saved on your device
Smart devices can store a lot of information about you, including passwords, apps and photos. When you let someone use a device remember that they might be able to see a lot of that information.

Only share your device with someone you trust, and make sure it’s got a strong password when you’re not using it.

Changing your privacy settings on social media

Lots of apps and sites will set your profile to public automatically, which means that anyone can see what you've posted.

Changing your privacy settings can help to keep you safe, here's how to on:

Online communities

There are lots of great sites, apps and communities to join or browse through. But there's also a lot online with content you might not be expecting or find upsetting.

Deciding whether or not to go on a site or app can be a tough choice. But we've got advice to help.

getting help with online  bullying

You may come across things that are upsetting or shocking online. Or people who want to bully you online or treat you badly.

This could include someone:

  • saying nasty things or harassing you
  • posting videos or live streaming bullying
  • sending abusive or threatening messages
  • sharing personal or embarrassing information.

It can be difficult to know how to respond when someone bullies you online. But there are things you can do.

3 things to remember if you’re being bullied online

  1. report or block the person
  2. don’t reply to nasty messages
  3. talk to someone about it.

Watch: how to spot the signs of online grooming and what to do if you're worried