Staying Safe Online
During lockdown, many of us will be using our computers and the internet much more; to learn, entertain ourselves, and communicate with others. Below you will find some guidance on how to stay safe online.
Any text you see in blue can be clicked on, where it will take you to a website to learn more!
Top tips to stay safe online
There are lots of things you can do to keep yourself safe online.
- Think before you post – Don’t upload or share anything you wouldn’t want your parents, carers, teachers or future employers seeing. Once you post something, you lose control of it, especially if someone else screenshots or shares it.
- Don’t share personal details – Keep things like your address, phone number, full name, school and date of birth private, and check what people can see in your privacy settings. Remember that people can use small clues like a school logo in a photo to find out a lot about you.
- Watch out for phishing and scams – Phishing is when someone tries to trick you into giving them information, like your password. Someone might also try to trick you by saying they can make you famous or that they’re from a talent agency. Never click links from emails or messages that ask you to log in or share your details, even if you think they might be genuine. If you’re asked to log into a website, go to the app or site directly instead.
- Think about who you’re talking to- There are lots of ways that people try to trick you into trusting them online. Even if you like and trust someone you’ve met online, never share personal information with them like your address, full name, or where you go to school. Find out more about grooming.
- Keep your device secure – Make sure that you’re keeping your information and device secure.
- Never give out your password – You should never give out your password or log-in information. Make sure you pick strong, easy to remember passwords.
- Cover your webcam – Some viruses will let someone access your webcam without you knowing, so make sure you cover your webcam whenever you’re not using it.
Keeping your information secure
A strong password means that it’s hard for someone else to guess or for a computer to crack. Some people use password managers to store all of their passwords, but these can cost money and aren’t always secure so you need to be careful.
Use our tips for creating a strong password.
- Make it long and difficult to guess – Make your password more than 8 characters and use a mix of lower case letters, upper case letters, numbers and special characters (like %, #, ! and £).
- Don’t use personal details – People might be able to guess your favourite animal, your birthday or your best friend’s name. Try using 3-4 random words that you can remember instead.
- Use different passwords – Change your password regularly and use completely different passwords for different websites and apps.
Device and app updates include important security fixes, so it’s good to make sure you regularly download updates for your:
- phone, tablet, laptop and computer
- apps and games
- wearables, including fitness trackers and smart watches
- smart devices and speakers like Alexa or Google Home.
Each device is different, but you can usually find out how to enable updates in the settings.
It’s also important to 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.
Lots of websites will keep you logged in, even after you close them. If someone else has access to the phone or device you’re using, then they might be able to log into your account.
If you’re using someone else’s device or someone else might have access to yours, make sure you:
- log out of any websites or apps when you’re finished
- don’t save any passwords or log-in information
- clear your internet history.
There are lots of websites that will try to trick you or pretend to be something else.
Make sure any website you’re using has “https” at the start of the address so that you know it’s secure. Only enter your log in details when you’re absolutely sure it’s the right website, that the address is correct and it’s using https (at the front of the link in your browser bar).
How to change privacy settings on
- Facebook: https://en-gb.facebook.com/help/193677450678703
- WhatsApp: https://faq.whatsapp.com/en/android/23225461
- Instagram: https://help.instagram.com/196883487377501
- Snapchat: https://support.snapchat.com/en-GB/a/privacy-settings2
HOW TO SPOT FAKE NEWS
The news you see online or on social media isn’t always going to be accurate. And it can be hard to tell what’s real and what’s fake.
Some websites will report fake news or things that aren’t completely true. They might do it because they want to scare you or make you do something. Or because they make money from people going to their site.
Fake news can look real, but there are ways to help you spot it.
- Check the source
Check the name of the website and its web address to see if it looks real. Some sites will try to look like other websites, so you think they’re genuine.
- Look for evidence
Find out whether it’s being reported on other sites that you know and trust. If it’s only being reported on websites you’ve never heard of then it might not be true.
- Don’t decide straight away
Sometimes headlines or stories are designed to scare or interest you. Read what’s in the article carefully, ask yourself whether it seems true and why they’re saying it.
- Ask someone you trust
Try asking an adult you trust to see what they think. If you’re worried about something you’ve seen online, you can always talk to a Childline counsellor.
For more information, click on the Childline logo
5 ways to get support if things go wrong.
- Talk to someone you trust like an adult, or you can always talk to a Childline counsellor.
- Report bullying and abusedirectly to the Childline website or app.
- Tell the police by making a report to CEOP if someone is threatening or blackmailing you.
CEOP stands for Child Exploitation & Online Protection command. It is run by the police and is where people can report things safely. Click the link to explore the website more.
- Plan for the future and change your privacy settings so it doesn’t happen again.
- If you are in immediate danger, call 999.
ThinkUKnow is a set of guidance developed by ChildLine, aimed at children and young people. It teaches you some of the risks there are online, and how to stay safe. Click on the links below, dependent on your age.
4-7 year olds: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/4_7/
8-10 year olds: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/8_10/
11-13 year olds: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/11_13/
14+ year olds: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/14_plus/
Remember: if you are unsure about anything, speak to an adult you trust.