Keeping yourself safe online

The online world is a part of our wider world now and it continues to grow. Most of us use the internet every day in our daily lives. There are many positives to online use and when used safely and in a healthy way, it can positively impact our lives.

When used in moderation and positively, it can help us learn new skills, access a range of knowledge, help us stay connected and can even improve our co-ordination and problem solving skills.

However, there are many risks of online use that can have negative impacts and effects which can affect our wellbeing, mental health and our safety.

Some of these risks include:

  • Exposure to age inappropriate content
  • Excessive screen time which affects our overall mental health and wellbeing
  • Poor sleep
  • Cyberbullying
  • Online grooming and radicalisation
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Social media or gaming addictions
  • Comparison and body image difficulties
  • Online hate and misinformation
  • Online scams and extortion

The four C’s

To keep ourselves safe online, it is important to think about the 4 C’s:

  • Conduct:

This is our own behaviour online and how we engage with others. We need to think about our digital footprint and what we are putting out there ourselves. It is important to think about what we are saying, sharing and expressing.

  • Content:

It is important that we are aware of the content that we are viewing, accessing, and engaging with to keep ourselves safe, happy and to protect our wellbeing.

  • Contact:

It is very important to be aware of who we are speaking to or connecting with online. People may not be who they say they are, and we should always ensure we are connecting with trusted people that we know, and never share any personal information or images with those that we don’t.

  • Commercialism: purchases, adverts or any online scams

There are many different advertisements online to encourage us to purchase products. It is important to be aware of our own finances to ensure we are not getting into debt or payment plans that we can not afford.

Furthermore, some of these advertisements can be scams and may seem real or disguised to look like real retailers or brands that we recognise. It is very important to be careful of online scams.

There has recently been an increase in extortion online. This means scammers are blackmailing people to force them to send money. They often begin pretending to be another young person and encourage the sharing of information or images and then use this information to blackmail someone.


What else can you do?

  • Be aware of your privacy settings:

Make sure you are aware of the privacy settings on the different apps you may use and how to protect your accounts.

  • Have a balance:

Make sure you have a healthy relationship with the online world and your devices. Don’t forget about the real world! Spend time with friends and family, get outdoors and enjoy different hobbies and activities.

  • Know where to get advice:

If you do see or experience anything negative online, speak to a trusted adult and have a look at the following websites for more support!

Child Line: Report & Remove

Safer Internet