Many teenagers have an unknowing adversity to staying safe online. They have grown up in a world of constant connectedness where anybody can be contacted in nearly an instant. This has led to many young web users who are able to connect with people from all over the world at the click of a button and in some cases a culture of creating as many online ‘friends’ as possible.
The advantages of being so connected are boundless, however this does not come without issues, especially where it comes to safety and privacy online. Although easy to meet new ‘friends’ online, you really do have to pose the question, ‘Do I really know the person I am talking too?’. It is all too common to share too much information with the people you meet. When you think you are getting to know someone and start revealing information about where you live, where you go when you are out and what school you go to, it can become very easy for another person to build a profile about your routines and who your family and friends and various other bits of personal information. We frequently read about ‘online predators’ in the news and young people who have been taken advantage of online, but by looking at and taking note of the information available on the websites we have listed below, you could save yourself and those around from becoming one of those victims.
What can you do to help?
- Make sure that the PC/laptop remains in view of adults and is NOT in a bedroom (predators can quickly establish if a child in in a bedroom and unsupervised)
- Explain to your child that they should ONLY chat or webcam with people that they ‘know’ (people that they have actually met in the real world)
- Make sure that your child understands the dangers of posting personal information such as real name, address, postcode, school (predators can find out an awful lot about someone from very little)
- Discourage posting of personal photographs to social networking sites unless the profile has the tightest of privacy settings. (Photos are like a ‘cybertattoo’ once out there they can NEVER be brought back)
- Explain to your child how dangerous it is to accept that people are who they say they are. Tell them that they should NEVER agree to meet someone from the online world without first talking to a trusted adult. (If they do agree to meet someone then they MUST take a trusted adult along)
- Know how to report to CEOP and show your child the ‘Report Abuse’ icon.