The internet can be a fantastic place to connect with friends; discover new things and be creative.
However it’s really important to be careful what personal information you share and who you share it with. Not everyone online has good intentions. Even if you’ve been chatting to someone for a long time, remember that people that you have only met online are still strangers.
It’s important that you know what to do if someone talking to you online makes you feel uncomfortable or asks you to do things that you do not wish to do. These tips can help:
Be careful who you trust online: remember that people you have met online are still strangers, no matter how long you have been talking to them or how friendly they are. Meeting up with these people can be dangerous, so only do so with your parents’ or carers’ permission, even then only when they can be present. If you only go with your friends then you risk putting them in danger too.
Keep it private: when you are chatting to people or posting things online make sure you keep your personal information private; this includes things like your home address and mobile number. If you are active on social networking sites, or if you have your own blog or gaming profile, think about who can see it and what they can see. You can set your privacy settings to limit who can see your content - giving out personal information can make you vulnerable.
Understand the tools: if someone is being inappropriate online it is important that you save the messages or conversation. Many services have tools that enable you to block and report users who are being abusive or making you feel uncomfortable. Have a look at our Need help section for more information about the services you use.
Stay in control! If you have met someone online and the conversations with that person are making you feel uncomfortable tell an adult you trust or you can report it to the police. All reports are taken seriously and a police officer will contact you to advise you on the next steps. To find out more information on online grooming visit Thinkuknow.