Staying safe online means being aware of the possible risks, understanding how to protect yourself and knowing what to do in the event of an issue arising. Some of the major concerns facing young people online are linked to social networking sites and mobile apps. These can be great ways to connect with your friends and share photos, videos and other forms of media, but understanding the risks of sharing information online is important. It is easy to think that sharing a message, image or video with your friends means it can't be viewed and shared by others. This may not necessarily be the case, so always think before you share any personal information online; once it's out there, it's impossible to take back.
There are major risks associated with befriending people online that you don't know in real life. Often predators will use the anonymity of the Internet to befriend young people and frequently pose as another young person to establish a connection with them. This is known as grooming and victims often become vulnerable to forms of physical or emotional abuse by the person or people who have been grooming them.
Cyber-bullying (or trolling) is another major issue that young people face online. Victims of this type of abuse often suffer from depression and anxiety as a result, but there is always a way to put a stop to it.
If you feel you, or someone you know, are the victim of grooming or cyber-bullying, tell someone you trust about it, such as a parent or member of staff. Alternatively, use the SWGfL Whisper button below to anonymously report any issues to the school or you can anonymously message the school via SMS by texting "COL" plus your message to 07860 021584.
If you would rather seek advice, please use the Click CEOP button below.
The NCA’s CEOP Command is here to help children and young people. We are here to help if you are a young person and you or your friend (up to age 18) has been forced or tricked into taking part in sexual activity with anyone online, or in the real world. We also have advice and links to support for other online problems young people might face, such as cyberbullying and hacking. Visit our Safety Centre for advice and to report directly to CEOP, by clicking on the Click CEOP button.
- Childline - Online and Mobile Safety
- Childnet - 11-18
- Childnet - Teachers and Professionals
- NSPCC - Online Safety
- Think U Know