Staying Safe Online

Going on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter and chatting to your friends is all good; unless it turns sour! You can face many challenges by being online.

Cyber bullying is something you shouldn’t stand for! The charity, Childline, has said that there has been a rise in the number of calls they receive around cyber bullying. 4,507 children got in touch with Childline last year with issues around cyber bullying.

For the first time since the charity has been running, more counselling has took place online (59%) than by phone(41%). Childline has also brought to people’s attention that there has been a rise in concerns about self-harming. This comes as a shock because young people should be enjoying their lives not being in the mind set to harm themselves. Difficult family relationships and depression were the top reasons for pursuing help from the charity.

 

Tips to stay safe online:

  • If you want to have a rant or a moan about someone, don’t put it on a social media site because what goes around comes around.
  • On sites such as Facebook, only add friends that you know and talk to. It’s not a competition to see how many friends you can get.
  • If cyber bullying starts happening to you or even a friend, report it! Don’t just sit back and let the abuse continue and spiral out of control. Hit that button quick!
  • Don’t put personal details online! Things such as BB pins and mobile numbers should be kept private and given to people you can trust, not the whole of Facebook! Don’t put your address online either; unless all the people on your Facebook deliver roses and chocolates to your door every day, then they don’t need to know where you live.
  • Remember, your best friend on Facebook is the block button! The people who are handing out abuse online are only good for one thing and that is to be blocked.
  • If you are being bullied or witness someone being bullied never stoop as low as to respond to them because that will show them that you are bothered by what they are saying and they will do it all the more.
  • Although you shouldn’t do it, no one is stopping you from talking to people you don’t know but make sure they are genuine! Do not start talking to people who sext you and send explicate messages or photos, because if they receive one of you, it is out there forever!
  • You shouldn’t meet people who you talk to online because they could be anyone; they could be a fifty year old man who told you he was 18 or an obsessive woman but don’t get me wrong, that person could be exactly who they say they are but you can never be sure!
  • You don’t need to constantly broadcast where you are going; this tells people where you are at that exact minute. This may be farfetched, but this can lead to people stalking you or someone breaking into your house because they know that you are not home because you’ve probably checked in on your phone at a McDonald’s restaurant.
  • Keep your passwords safe and never give them to anyone, even people you think you can trust.
  • Make sure your privacy settings are set, so only your friends can see what is on your profile.

This story was featured in our first print edition which is available now in schools and by contacting [email protected]