Online grooming

Remember people online that you do not know in the real world are still strangers. If someone you are talking to online makes you feel uncomfortable or asks you to do things that you do not wish to do, you must talk to an adult you trust.

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 and the personal information of your friends and family; this includes things like your home address, phone number, passwords and bank details. 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. An easy way to do this is to use the print screen (PrtScn) button on your keyboard and paste the image into a document. 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 are speaking to 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 grooming visit Thinkuknow.