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The internet offers you a great opportunity to keep in touch with friends, find information and have a lot of fun. However, it’s important for you to protect yourself online, as you may sometimes find people who aren’t who they claim to be. Your safety is very important to us, so here are some tips on how you can stay safe online.

You and your online safety

  • Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know on social media. Facebook can be a great way of keeping in touch with friends, but keep it to just that! If a stranger does send you a friend request, simply decline it. If you get an email from someone you don’t know, delete it instead of opening it.
  • When you use a forum or chat room to talk to people, use a nickname for your username instead of your real name.
  • If somebody you don’t know asks for personal details such as your home/email address or phone number in a chat room or on a forum, don’t give it out – these are public places and they could be seen by anybody. You should keep these details private – the only people who need to know these are your friends and family.
  • Never arrange to meet in person with someone who you have been chatting to on a forum or in a chat room. Remember that it’s very easy for people to pretend to be someone else on forums.
  • Use your privacy settings! You can change them on Facebook in your ‘account settings’. You can change who can see your posts, who can send you friend requests and how much information can be seen in your public profile. If you use Twitter, you can set your account to ‘Protected’ so only existing followers, and those who you approve in the future, can view your tweets.
  • Remember when texting or uploading photos to  social media sites, how many people on your page do you know outside of the digital world (real-life friends?), and think about how many people only put up photos of happy times, or great places? Never pj days, or the day you run out of clothes and are wearing your dad’s jumper? Make sure that the images you use are real, and they are not too embarrassing, or revealing. Only upload images that you would not worry if your Grandma saw. Images once uploaded can be almost impossible to ever remove from the internet.

  • If you do encounter anything that worries you, or someone sends you a message which upsets you, tell a trusted adult.

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