Staying Safe Online

What are the risks?

There are lots of fun and interesting things you can do on the internet. And it can be a great way to stay in touch with friends. But it’s important to understand how to stay safe online.

Sometimes people will try to trick you into clicking dangerous links or sharing things about yourself. Or something you’ve shared might be used to bully or frighten you. 


Tips to stay safe online

There are lots of things you can do to keep yourself safe online.

  • Think before you post
    Don’t upload or share anything you wouldn’t want your parents, carers, teachers or future employers seeing. Once you post something, you lose control of it, especially if someone else screenshots or shares it.
  • Don’t share personal detailsKeep things like your address, phone number, full name, school and date of birth private, and check what people can see in your privacy settings. Remember that people can use small clues like a school logo in a photo to find out a lot about you.
  • Watch out for phishing and scams
    Phishing is when someone tries to trick you into giving them information, like your password. Someone might also try to trick you by saying they can make you famous or that they’re from a talent agency. Never click links from emails or messages that ask you to log in or share your details, even if you think they might be genuine. If you’re asked to log into a website, go to the app or site directly instead.
  • Think about who you’re talking to
    There are lots of ways that people try to trick you into trusting them online. Even if you like and trust someone you’ve met online, never share personal information with them like your address, full name, or where you go to school.
  • Keep your device secure
    Make sure that you’re keeping your information device secure. 
  • Never give out your password
    You should never give out your password or log-in information. Make sure you pick strong, easy to remember passwords.

For tips on how to feel good when using social media Click here. 


Keeping your information secure

Having your social media account hacked or finding out someone has stolen your data can be scary and upsetting. But there are easy steps you can take to keep yourself safe.

  • Use strong passwords:
    A strong password means that it's hard for someone else to guess or a computer to crack.
    Make it long and difficult to guess - Make your password more than 8 characters and use a mix of lower case letter, uppercase letters, numbers and special characters such as %,!,£
    Don't use personal details - People might be able to guess your favourite animal, your birthday or your best friends name.
    Use different passwords - Change your password regularly and use completely different passwords for each website or app
  • Set up 2-factor authentication

    2-factor authentication adds another layer of security to your password by asking for another piece of information. For example, you might need to enter your password and then enter a code you’re sent via text message. It’s much more secure as passwords can be guessed or cracked.

    Lots of apps and sites let you use 2-factor authentication, and you should choose to use it whenever you can.

  • Keep your apps and devices safe and up to date:

    Device and app updates include important security fixes, so it’s good to make sure you regularly download updates for your:

    • phone, tablet, laptop and computer
    • apps and games
    • wearables, including fitness trackers and smart watches
    • smart devices and speakers like Alexa or Google Home.

    Each device is different, but you can usually find out how to enable updates in the settings.

    It’s also important to use anti-virus software. You can get anti-virus software for mobiles as well as tablets, laptops and PCs. Make sure that you keep it updated or ask an adult to help you.

  • Make sure you log out when you're using public or shared devices:

    Lots of websites will keep you logged in, even after you close them. If someone else has access to the phone or device you’re using then they might be able to log into your account.

    If you’re using someone else’s device or someone else might have access to yours, make sure you:

    • log out of any websites or apps when you’re finished
    • don’t save any passwords or log-in information
    • clear your internet history. 
  • Be careful which websites you're using:

    There are lots of websites that will try to trick you or pretend to be something else.

    Make sure any website you’re using has “https” at the start of the address so that you know it’s secure. Only enter your log in details when you’re absolutely sure it’s the right website, that the address is correct and it’s using https (at the front of the link in your browser bar).

How to spot fake news

The news you see online or on social media isn’t always going to be accurate. And it can be hard to tell what’s real and what’s fake.

Some websites will report fake news or things that aren’t completely true. They might do it because they want to scare you or make you do something. Or because they make money from people going to their site.

Fake news can look real, but there are ways to help you spot it.

  • Check the source
    Check the name of the website and its web address to see if it looks real. Some sites will try to look like other websites so you think they’re genuine.
  • Look for evidence
    Find out whether it’s being reported on other sites that you know and trust. If it’s only being reported on websites you’ve never heard of then it might not be true.
  • Don’t decide straight away
    Sometimes headlines or stories are designed to scare or interest you. Read what’s in the article carefully, ask yourself whether it seems true and why they’re saying it.
  • Ask someone you trust
    Try asking an adult you trust to see what they think. If you’re worried about something you’ve seen online, you can always talk to a Childline Counsellor.

All information has been sourced from

All guides below have been sourced from:

Tips on how to stay safe online

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