Internet Education

Most young people in the UK use the Internet every day, to play, work, learn and socialise. The Internet is a connection of billions of computers, and billions of people, all around the world.

Young people today are the first generation to have been brought up with the Internet their whole lives, whereas adults remember a time before these technologies. This can make adults more cautious about what they do online and how they use the tools, but sometimes young people aren’t as aware of the potential dangers.

Anyone in the world can create online content, some of which is dangerous, hateful, indecent or simply inaccurate. Just because something is online doesn’t mean it’s true! Sometimes people have bad motives for creating a website, posting online or wanting to chat with someone. It is important to always act in the same way online as you would in the real world.

Real World & Virtual World Safety

Think about the things you wouldn’t do in the real world such as talking to strangers, sharing personal details about your life like your address or phone number, or making a nasty comment to someone’s face. You should always act in the same way whether online or in the real world such as:

  • Avoid talking to strangers – don’t add people you don’t know to your Facebook account, or become friendly with strangers in chatrooms or on other websites.
  • Don’t share your private information such as your address, phone number, the school you attend, your date of birth, passwords and other details.
  • Remember that when you share a video or image online or send it to someone on your phone you can lose control of it. It takes seconds to forward, edit, print, upload or otherwise share an image or video. Potentially thousands of people could see it.
  • Treat your password like your toothbrush! Don’t share your password to your email accounts, Facebook or other social networking site, or other websites with anyone but your parents.

If In Doubt, Report It

It is easy for someone online to pretend to be something or someone they’re not. There is no way of really knowing if a person is the same gender or age as they say they are online, or whether they really look like the photograph they display. Always be careful when chatting to people over the Internet and never meet someone in real life without taking an adult with you.

If you are worried or upset about something you see online, or are concerned about a person who has contacted you over the Internet, tell someone you trust. You can also report online abuse to CEOP the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre which is run by the police in the UK. Visit our Reporting page for more useful ways to report bullying, abuse and crimes.