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e-Safety advice

We all need to use the internet for school work, to help us in our day-to-day lives and of course for fun. However, we must all be careful to use the internet and technology wisely and keep ourselves safe.

The number one thing to remember, if anything is worrying you online or on your phone, is to tell a trusted adult (like a parent or teacher). Don't be afraid or embarrassed, just tell someone straight away.

Here are a few of the most important things to keep in mind when you use the Internet and your mobile phone and some useful links below to help you stay safe:

Staying safe online

  1. Don’t post any personal information online – like your address, email address or mobile number
  2. Think carefully before posting pictures or videos of yourself. Once you’ve put a picture of yourself online people can see it and download it, it’s not just yours anymore
  3. Keep your privacy settings on social media accounts as high as possible
  4. Never give out your passwords
  5. Don’t befriend people you don’t know
  6. Don't accept friend or follow requests from people you don't know
  7. Don’t meet up with people you’ve met online - speak to a trusted adult about anyone who suggest you do
  8. Remember that not everyone online is who they say they are
  9. Think carefully about what you say before you post something online
  10. Respect other people’s views, even if you don’t agree with someone else’s views, it doesn’t mean you need to be rude
  11. If you see something online that makes you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or worried; leave the website, and tell a trusted adult immediately

Staying safe on your mobile

  1. Don’t reply to any nasty messages you receive - tell an adult about them instead
  2. Don’t reply to a text from someone you don’t know
  3. Keep the messages you have been sent so you can show them to a trusted adult and make a note of the time and date of the messages or calls you receive
  4. Don’t answer calls from withheld numbers or numbers you don’t recognise - let it go to voicemail
  5. Don’t give your mobile number to someone you don’t know
  6. Don’t send pictures to someone you don’t know and be very careful about sending pictures to anyone on your phone

What to do if you are being bullied online

  1. Tell an adult you trust if you are being cyber bullied
  2. Don’t respond or retaliate to bullying messages - it could make things worse
  3. Block users who send you nasty messages (if you need advice on how to block people on various social media websites, use the documents below)
  4. Save any abusive emails or texts you receive and show an adult
  5. Don’t pass on any cyber bullying videos or messages – this is cyber bullying (Take the BBC quiz 'Are you an accidental cyberbully?').
  6. You can talk to someone at Child Line or get online safety advice at www.childline.org.uk/talk/Pages/Talk.aspx

For information on the different social media platforms download the resources below, provided by the UK Safer Internet Centre. 

Sexting advice

'Sexting' is a term used to describe sharing of intimate texts, images or videos with another person. You can download the guides below to find out more about the dangers of 'sexting' and what to do if you have been involved in an 'sexting' incident. If there has been an inappropriate image of you posted online, you should speak to your parent or teacher. This service from Childline can help you to get images removed from the internet.

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Apps to be aware of

New apps are coming out all the time and it's up to all of us, teachers, staff, students and parents to be aware of online dangers and do what we can to protect against them. Here are three apps that pose a serious threat to young people:

App What is it? Why is it dangerous?

Yubo (used to be called Yellow) is an app that allows users to interact with new people, using location data to find other Yubo users nearby.

There is increasing concern about the lack of safety features on this app and parents are being advised to talk to their children about the potential risks of using Yubo and about the dangers of sharing too much with a potential stranger. Police in several areas of the UK have alerted schools to concerns they have over child safety on the app, while the NSPCC has also shared a warning.

 

There are no privacy setting options and no way to block users meaning people can see all of the personal information that you post on your account.

 

Although location sharing can be turned off, to find nearby friends it needs to be switched on. By enabling location sharing, this will be shown to any other potential “friends” who view the account, along with the users age.

 

There is also a lack of content control, meaning anyone can sign up and post inappropriate content viewable to younger users.

 

Over 18s are blocked from contacting younger users, however the app does not verify ages upon sign-up, meaning it could be exploited by those seeking to target children.

Sarahah is an app that allows users to send anonymous comments to other users, with no way of the recipient replying or knowing who sent it.

Sarahah - meaning “honesty” in Arabic - encourages anonymous “constructive comments” when you register and share your link on social media. You can also comment anonymously on your friends if you know their link. Parents and children’s organisations are concerned that vulnerable teenagers are at risk from bullying and suicide. The App Store has reviews suggesting that Sarahah is being used for cyber-bullying.

 

An NSPCC spokesperson said:

“Apps that allow anonymous comments can be worrying as they could potentially be misused by online bullies to send abusive or upsetting messages.

 

We’d encourage children using Sarahah not to share their user name publicly to limit who can communicate with them on the app.

 

“Our advice for parents is to talk to your child regularly about what they are doing on apps like Sarahah and encourage them to speak to you if they see something upsetting.

MeetMe is a social network that introduces people to new people instead of connecting them to existing ones.

MeetMe works almost exclusively to connect people with strangers. Immediately after creating an account, users set up their profile using an active Facebook account or email address. In a matter of seconds, various profiles pop up for other users in the nearby area. Users are encouraged to chat regularly and even meet fellow users in person.

 

With MeetMe Credits, users are encouraged to perform various tasks on the app. This gives the app an “arcade-like” feel; and people may forget that their actions on the app have very real, real-world consequences. They can become so caught up winning the app’s games that they forget they are playing with real strangers.

 

MeetMe possesses an “open-door” policy in regards to its user profiles. There are no privacy settings; every detail a person adds to their personal profile will be present for anyone to see. The app encourages users to be very open and share personal details to “help” them build connections with fellow users. It’s very common for sexually explicit and even pornographic material to find its way into user news feeds.

 

Everything–including your profile information–is out in the open and easy for everyone to see.