Let's enjoy our holidays, but keep safe with what we do online.
The summer holidays are finally here, and it’s time to relax, unwind and have some well deserved fun in the sun. We may think that having more opportunities to meet up with friends and take part in events and activities together will reduce our time on the internet, however it can sometimes have the opposite effect. We might want to share our activities by posting them on social media, chat with friends to make plans or take part in online activities.
For the majority of the time, the internet is a safe place that can help us get more out of life. However, we all know that there are dangers and risks that come with internet use. Thankfully, keeping our selves safe on the internet is actually really easy! Carry on reading to find out how to keep you and your friends safe online this summer.
Ask yourself how you are feeling? What is the reason you’re posting something? Are you feeling upset or angry? Are you trying to post something to get attention or to troll someone else? Then it’s not the time to be messaging or posting on a social media site. People don’t always make good decisions or think straight when they’re stressed out, upset or a posting for reasons other than pure entertainment. So if you identity that the reason you’re about to post something online is motivated by a more negative emotion, then take some time to stop, think and reconsider what you’re about to do.
When you’re on a website or using an app, try to remain as anonymous as possible. That means keeping all private information private and not visible for people to see. Private information that you should never allow members of the public (who we do not know at all) to see includes:
“Stranger Danger” is a phrase that often gets told to young children. But that phrase should be something we all think about. The unfortunate truth is that there are many people online who have harmful intentions. They use the internet to hide who they really are and look for ways to talk to others with the intention to manipulate them into doing things for them online, becoming involved in risky behaviour or even trying to meet them. It’s important for us to always stay vigilant and aware that not everybody we talk to online will be who they say they are.
What to do if you need help?
If something happens online that you are not comfortable with, the first you should do is tell a trusted adult. Normally you could tell your teacher, but this might not be possible during the holidays. But you could tell a parent, carer, another family member or a sibling who is an adult. If you feel like you have no adult to talk to, then don’t hesitate to contact Childline. Remember, Childline are there as a free service to help and support young people no matter what they are going through. The number to call is 0800 1111, and it won’t show up on any phone bill. If you’ve seen something upsetting online or harmful, you can report it to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command.