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Staying safe online

Connecting with family and friends online can be fun and exciting, but it also comes with some risks. Find out what these are and what you can do to stay safe online.

Boy using laptop

What are the risks?

Here are some of the risks and dangers to look out for:

  • Privacy – your personal information could be seen by anyone, anywhere. It could be viewed by friends, family and strangers.

  • Permanency – once something is posted it can stay online for a long time, even when comments or photos are deleted.

  • Predators – there are people who try to talk with children and young people online in an attempt to have sexual contact. This is against the law.

  • Identity fraud – people can gather enough information about a person to steal their identity. They can use this to do illegal things like steal your money or commit crimes under your name. It could also be used to create fake profiles to ruin someone’s reputation or to bully others.

  • Trolling – this is when someone misuses social websites to cause conflict or harm to an individual or group.

  • Catfishing – a person can pretend to be someone they’re not by stealing a profile or creating a fake one. They can use this profile to trick people over a long period of time.

How can I protect my personal information?

It is important not to share your:

Address or location
Phone number
School or work
Sporting clubs or groups that you’re in
Passwords
Bank details

Helpful hints to stay safe online

There are a few simple things you can do to try to keep safe online:

  • Be careful of requests – only accept ‘friend’ requests from people you know in real life. This reduces the chance of getting into an unsafe situation.

  • Block anyone you’ve had contact with that was negative or unsafe – this stops them from having contact with you and from seeing your profile.

  • Think before you upload and share photos – post photos that show you and your friends in a positive way. Once it’s uploaded, it’s no longer private and could be viewed by friends, family, teachers and strangers.

  • Be mindful of what you write to others – you never know who will read these comments and how they might interpret them.

  • Think carefully about sharing links to other sites – the content could be embarrassing, upsetting or hurtful to others.

  • Keep your online friends online – never agree to meet someone you’ve only known online on your own. Take one of your parents with you and meet in a public place. If they are who they say they are, they’ll be happy to do this.

  • Think about your privacy – avoid sharing personal information online that could be misused by someone in real life. Check your privacy settings and make sure your account is secure.

  • Protect your identity – pick a username that isn’t your real name and a profile picture that doesn’t show any personal information.

  • Sexting – keep sexting laws in mind when taking photos and sending or receiving images.

"Think before you post, chat, upload or download." - eSafety

Who else can help?

Kids Helpline and eSafety can help you figure things out.

If you want to learn more about online safety or what to do if you’re being bullied online, you can also visit the eSafety website.

You can also talk to a counsellor here at Kids Helpline. Give us a call, start a WebChat or email us today.

This content was last reviewed 14/02/2018

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