Posted: 05 February 2019

Safer Internet Day: top tips for staying safe online

The internet is a great way to communicate and share our thoughts and opinions but it can also be misused. Many use it for cyberbullying, stealing personal information and creating false identities.

As our lives move more and more online, it has never been more important to understand the risks this poses. 

We've put together 5 top tips for staying safe online:

1. Stop and think before you post 

Think to yourself ‘how would I feel if my parents or teachers saw this post?’ Once you share your post, it exists and is out of your control. You can delete it but it will be part of your digital footprint and could have an undesirable impact on your future.

2. Be mindful who you accept as friends 

If you do not know a person personally then you should avoid accepting or requesting their friendship. Even if you get on well online, you won't know who they really are. If you believe that someone has contacted you inappropriately then please let a parent, guardian or teacher know at the first instance.

3. Keep your passwords private

Be sure to create strong passwords using a mix of letters, numbers and symbols. Keep passwords to yourself, ensure you change them regularly and back up accounts with security questions and a recovery email. 

4. Click links with caution

Social media and email accounts are regularly hacked. Once hacked, the hacker can access your personal information. If the link looks unsafe, it most likely is. 

5. Always log out at the end of an online session

Wherever you log in to your social media accounts, it is always safer to log out when you finish your online session. This is especially true when you are using someone else's device. If someone accesses your account then they will be able to access your private data and this could lead to a number of problems down the line. 

If you would like to know more about the dangers of the internet or are concerned about a young person, please contact childline on 0800 1111.

By Tonia Shepherd

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