It's easy to get carried away when we're talking to friends, or even someone you don't know, online. Sharing information is so easy to do these days, which can great, but sometimes it can get us into a bit of trouble. You might even find it's making you feel uncomfortable.
Whether you think you or someone you know is being bullied online, or if you're looking for ways to stay safe, you can read on for lots of advice.
Remember, you're never alone and help is never far away.
I've met someone I don't know online - what should i do?
- always be careful about who you become friends with online – not everyone is who they say they are
- don't meet up with anyone you meet online if you don't know them in 'real life' without a parent or guardian
- if you can't talk to your parents about your new online friend, at least keep your friends in the loop.
What information can I share online?
- be careful and think about how much you share online, remember once it's out there there's no going back
- never give out your full address or phone number to people you don't know.
How can I keep my account safe?
- make sure all your social network profiles are private – most sites have easy to find privacy settings
- treat your password like your toothbrush – don't give it out and change it regularly.
I'm thinking about sending a rude message - shall I do it?
- no, if you do you are likely to regret it - they can easily be sent on to someone else and you will lose control
- if you wouldn't post it online, don't send it, because you might log on to a social networking site one day to find someone else has
- think about whether you would want a family member to ever see that picture – if the answer is no – don't send it
- if you've been sent a photo, you may be committing a criminal offence if you share it with other people.
Remember - bullying exists online too
- respect others – when you're online you can't see how your words affect people
- if you are sending unkind message to people you may be committing a criminal offence
- don't retaliate to hateful messages and screen shot or save any nasty ones you receive
- block the bullies - most online sites will give you the option to block people from accessing your online profiles
- if you are being bullied – talk to someone, a parent, guardian, sibling or teacher will be able to help.
Things to keep in mind on social media
- think before you post – whatever goes online can be shared and you can lose control of who sees it
- be careful about the photos you share – do they give away lots of information about you, such as what school you go to? Is it embarrassing? Is it bullying someone else?
- if something doesn't feel right it probably isn't - talk to someone you trust
- all social networking sites including YouTube have 'report buttons' - use them if you need to
- if it goes wrong – talk to someone, there is always a way to fix things, you are never alone
I'm being bullied online - what help can I get?
There are plenty of really good support services out there for you to access at the click of a button. Most are confidential and will be able to help you with whatever problem you have. Check our our useful links below to find out more.