Staying Safe Online
It is exciting and fun to connect with family and friends online, but it can also come with some risks. Discover what these risks are and what YOU can do to stay safe online.
If you are 8-15 years old, this section is for you.
What are the risks? Here is what you need to look out for:
Privacy – your personal information is available to be seen by anyone, anywhere. Not only can it be seen by friends and family... it can also be seen by strangers.
Permanency – everything you post will remain online for a very long time, even if your comments or photos are deleted.
Grooming –there are strangers who will reach out to you online and try to become close to you. Do not talk to these people.
Identity Fraud – this relates to your personal privacy. It is possible for people to gather enough information about you to steal your identity. They can use your identity to do illegal things like steal your money or commit crimes under your name. It can also be used to create fake profiles to ruin your reputation or bully others.
Trolling – this is when a person uses social websites to cause conflict in the lives of individuals or groups.
Catfishing – this is when a person pretends to be someone they're not by creating a fake profile. They can sometimes use this profile to trick people over a long period of time. This is why it is best to not talk to strangers online.
How can I protect my personal information?
It is important to never share your:
Address or location
Sporting clubs or groups that you're in
School or work
Tips to help you stay safe online
There are several simple things you can do to try to stay safe online:
Monitor your requests closely – only accept friend or follow requests from people you know in real life. This reduces the chance of you getting into an unsafe situation.
Block anyone that makes you feel uneasy or upset – blocking someone prevents them from contacting you and viewing your profile.
THINK before you upload a photo or a post – when you are posting online, make sure it is showing you in a positive light. Once it's uploaded, it can be viewed by anyone.
THINK before you write to others online – the tone of what you are saying is lost when you type something. Be careful before writing to others because they may interpret it in a way you did not intend.
THINK before sharing links to other websites – links you post could contain misleading, incorrect, or hurtful information.
If you meet someone online, keep your friendship there – if you've only met someone online and never in person, never meet them alone. If you want to meet them, bring a parent or friend and meet in a public place. If they are who they say they are, this will be completely fine with them.
Think about your privacy and the privacy of your family – in general, it is best to avoid sharing personal information online. This info can be misused by someone in real life to cause harm to you or your family. Have your parents help you check your privacy settings to make sure your account is secure and you aren't sharing too much personal information.
Protect your identity – when choosing a username, use your nickname or an alias. For your profile picture, make sure it isn't revealing any personal information.
Sexting – know the laws in your state. If you receive a message or photo that makes you feel uncomfortable, tell a trusted adult immediately. Click here to view laws pertaining to sexting.
How YOU can be a good digital citizen:
Use the THINK method before you post or comment.
Is it true?
Is it helpful?
Is it inspirational?
Is it necessary?
Is it kind?
Key takeaway: THINK! Is it true, helpful, inspirational, necessary, and kind? If not, you don't need to post it.