Children & young people
Stay safe online
This part of the website is about how you can be safe when you use the internet.
If you're being bullied online:
- Tell an adult you trust - bullying can be hard to talk about but you shouldn't feel that you have to handle it alone. Talk to an adult you trust. This could be your mum or dad, your aunt or a teacher. They will support you and help you to make it stop.
- Talk to someone your age - talk to a friend or if you don't want to talk to someone you know, you can post messages and get advice on ChildLine's Message Boards.
- Block the Bullies - most websites will let you block people to stop them communicating with you.
- Keep evidence - keep any nasty emails, texts or web pages so you can show someone what's been going on.
- Report mean videos, pictures, comments or pages to the website you've found them on.
When chatting online, remember:
- What could they find out? - if you post stuff online, think about how much people could find out about you from it. Have you posted about your favourite music or sports? Have you posted anything embarrassing you wouldn't want your parents or a teacher to see? Remember, people do lie online and the more information they have about you the easier it is for them to try trick you.
- Don't say too much - if you're chatting to someone, don't tell them anything which could help them find you in the real world - things like your full name, school, email address or even photos. Remember, even if you've been chatting for ages you still can't be sure that they aren't up to no good.
- Be careful on cam - it can really unsafe to chat on webcam with people you meet online. If you do anything embarrassing - things you wouldn't want your friends or family to see - it's really easy for them to record it. Some people online will threaten to share an embarrassing video or picture with other people if you don't do what they say. If anyone threatens you in this way they are breaking the law and you should report them.
- Don't meet up without an adult you trust - people do lie online so it's always risky to meet up face to face with someone you've met online. If you do meet up with someone, make sure you do it in a busy public place and take an adult you trust with you. If you take a friend you could put them at risk aswell. Tell the person you're meeting you want to meet in a public place and you're bringing an adult with you. Anyone who genuienly wants to be your friend should understand that you want to make sure you are safe.
- Block and Report - most websites you can chat on will let you 'block' other people if you don't want to talk to them anymore. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable or upset 'block' them.
- Know how to report - no matter how long you have been chatting and whatever has happened it's never too late to seek help if someone frightens you or makes you feel uncomfortable.
If you use social networks, remember:
- Know who your friends are - it's really tempting to accept as many friend requests or follows as possible but remember, they could be anyone. Do you really want them seeing your pictures, videos or comments?
- Share with care - once you've out something online you've lost control of it - it can be copied, shared or edited.
- Use privacy settings - most social networks let you limit what you share to friends or followers you've accepted. It's always a good idea to only let people you know and trust see your stuff.
- Know how to report - most social networks let you report to them if you have a problem on their site.
- Know how to get help - if someone's bullying you on a social network you should talk to an adult you trust or, if you'd rather speak to someone you can call ChildLine.
Before posting a picture online, ask yourself these 5 questions first:
- Have I got permission? - if you've taken a picture or video of your friends or family have you got their permission to post it online? Could it upset or embarrass them? If you were them, would you want it shared? If you think the answer might be no, then go and ask them or don't post it at all.
- Would I put it on a billboard? - Would you be happy for the picture to be put on a billboard so anyone could see it? If the answer's no, then don't post it.
- Who am I sharing with? - Are you sending it to a friend, someone you've met online or posting it for everyone to see? Remember, if you've only met someone online they might not be who they say they are. They could copy, edit or share your picture with anyone.
- What do I look like? - Remember anything you post online could be there forever. If you're not sure a picture paints a positive picture of you then think twice before posting.
- Is it legal? - taking and sharing naked or 'sexy' pictures or videos under 18 is illegal, even if you're taking them yourself. The law is there to protect you from adults who make these pictures but sharing them of yourself can be really unsafe. You also shouldn't share naked or 'sexy' pictures of other young people - this is illegal and can cause them very serious problems.
If you want to play online games safely, remember:
- Don't be fooled into thinking that you know the people you meet online - it is ok for them to be 'online gaming friends,' just don't tell them everything about yourself, or chat to them anywhere else online, like on a social network or a messaging app.
- Always choose a username that does not reveal any personal information - such as your full name and hometown. That way if someone is making you feel uncomfortable you can block them and not worry that they can find you again.
- Only play online games when you have updated antivirus software and firewall activated
- Read the terms and conditions of use - within games to ensure there are no hidden charges. If you're not sure, get an adult to help you.
- Watch out for scams - when buying or selling 'property' inside a computer game and for being scammed by other users.
- Remember, this is very different to when your parents were growing up - keep them involved in your gaming by letting them know what games you're playing and what you love about them.
If you are worried and concerned, then you can call ChildLine on 0800 1111. You can call at any time of the day or night and speak to someone confidentially.
You can also contact ChildLine online by clicking here.
You can also report online abuse by clicking here.
For more information on how to stay safe online visit:
Sexting Toolkit: Guidance and advice on what to do if you have sent pictures of yourself online.
NSPCC Net Aware Your guide to the social networks your kids use: https://www.net-aware.org.uk/
For Internet Safety Advice and help, click here.
If you are being bullied online and want some advice, click here.