Staying Safe Online – Top Tips

These tips are from the UK Safer Internet Centre and were part of the Safer Internet Day Campaign, but we think they are valid enough to remain here.

Social NetworkingSocial Networking and Instant Messaging

There are lots of ways to protect your privacy and stay safe when using social networks and instant messenger services. Here are our top 3 tips:

  1. Think before you post – once you post something online you don’t know who else could make a copy of it. This goes for webcams too.
  2. Use your Privacy Settings or account settings so only approved friends can view your full profile on social networks. Make sure you know how to block and delete Instant Messaging and social network contacts.
  3. Make sure you know how to report anything that upsets or worries you. Most social networks and instant messenger services have an administrator or a reporting button.
    If you are suspicious about the behaviour of an adult towards a child, you should report to the police at CEOP (www.ceop.police.uk)

If you’re a parent or carer and want to learn more about supporting your child to use social networks safely and responsibly, download the Childnet Guide to Young People and Social Networks – http://www.childnet.com/downloads/blog_safety.pdf

Film TV & MusicFilm TV & Music

Downloading or sharing copyrighted files without the permission of the owner is illegal and it puts your computer and personal information at risk, but don’t worry as there are lots of official ways for enjoying film, TV and music online.

  1. Talk with your family about what is and isn’t acceptable to download, stream or share.
  2. Using illegal file-sharing programmes can expose your computer to viruses and spyware– protect your wireless connection with a password and always check your virus and spyware protection is up to date.
  3. It’s easy to find legal websites to download and stream film, TV and music online. For a whole host of official film and TV sites visit www.industrytrust.co.uk, and if it’s official music you’re after, visit www.pro-music.org

For more advice, see the Childnet guide to Music, Film, TV and the Internet at www.childnet.com/downloading

GamingGaming

There’s plenty of helpful ways to stay safe when gaming online. Here are just a few tips to get started.

  1. Talk with your family about safe and responsible gaming. Perhaps you could agree rules about how long to play for, how to behave towards other gamers and agree rules about not meeting up with anyone met online in a game.
  2. Consider which parental controls might be helpful for your family and decide which games are suitable by checking the age rating and PEGI descriptors. Visit www.pegi.info for more information and see the UK Safer Internet Centre’s Parent’s Guide to Technology to learn about setting up parental controls www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-and-resources/a-parents-guide
  3. Ensure that you know how to report inappropriate behaviour from other players online or content to moderators or customer support teams on the games and sites you/your children are using.

For more advice, download the Safer Internet Centre’s advice about online gaming at www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-and-resources/parents

Mobile safetyMobiles

There’s plenty of helpful ways to stay safe when using your smartphone. Here’s just a few tips to get started.

  1. Remember that smartphones connect to the internet, so the same advice and rules for keeping safe online apply.
  2. Talk with your family about safe and responsible smartphone use and agree a set of family rules. Perhaps you could agree rules about not meeting up with people that were only met online, how much to spend on apps and a limit, what websites it’s okay and not okay to visit, and whether phones should be switched off at night.
  3. When you sign up to a mobile contract, make sure that you understand the contract’s internet data allowance – accessing the internet uses internet data and if you go over your allowance it may cost you.

For more advice, see the Safer Internet Centre’s Parents’ Guide to Technology which covers safe smartphone use.
http://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-and-resources/parents-and-carers/parents-guide-to-technology

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