The internet is essential in 21st Century life for education, business and social interaction. As children get older, their access to various types of technology increases and it stands to reason that their exploration and curiosity increases too. The positives of the digital world overwhelmingly outweigh the negatives but children, school and parents all need to be aware of various online risks and it's our job to prepare our young people for life online and to equip them with the tools needed to keep themselves safe.
Childnet.com use the following acronym to remind children how to keep safe and be kind on the internet.
S is for safe
Keep your personal information safe. When chatting or posting online don’t give away things like your full name, password or home address. Remember personal information can be seen in images and videos you share too.
Keep them safe to keep yourself safe.
M is for meet
Meeting up with someone you only know online, even a friend of a friend, can be dangerous as this person is still a stranger. If someone you only know online ever asks you to meet up, for personal information or for photos/videos of you then tell an adult straight away and report them together on www.thinkuknow.co.uk
A is for accepting
Think carefully before you click on or open something online (e.g. links, adverts, friend requests, photos) as you never know where they may lead to or they may contain viruses. Do not accept something if you are unsure of who the person is or what they’ve sent you.
R is for reliable
You cannot trust everything you see online as some things can be out of date, inaccurate or not entirely true. To find reliable information compare at least three different websites, check in books and talk to someone about what you have found.
T is for tell
Tell a trusted adult if something or someone ever makes you feel upset, worried or confused. This could be if you or someone you know is being bullied online. There are lots of people who will be able to help you like your teachers, parents, carers or contact Childline – 0800 11 11 or www.childline.org.uk
Be SMART with a heart
Remember to always be smart with a heart by being kind and respectful to others online. Make the internet a better place by helping your friends if they are worried or upset by anything that happens online.
Here are some useful tips:
1) Don’t post any personal information online – like your address, email address or mobile number.
2) Think carefully before posting pictures or videos of yourself. Once you’ve put a picture of yourself online most people can see it and may be able to download it, it’s not just yours anymore.
3) Keep your privacy settings as high as possible
4) Never give out your passwords
5) Don’t befriend people you don’t know
6) Don’t meet up with people you’ve met online. Speak to your parent or carer about people suggesting you do
7) Remember that not everyone online is who they say they are
8) Think carefully about what you say before you post something online
9) Respect other people’s views, even if you don’t agree with someone else’s views doesn’t mean you need to be rude
10) If you see something online that makes you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or worried: leave the website, turn off your computer if you want to and tell a trusted adult immediately.