Today, the internet has become a major part of our everyday lives, and it’s hard to get away from it. Most things today can be done or are mainly done online, from homework to entertainment. Whether you are a young person learning how to navigate the internet or a parent or carer hoping to help your child stay safe online, there are lots of tips that you might find useful.
Protecting your safety online is important as there are lots of threats out there. The internet is easy for anybody to access which is why you should always be careful when you are visiting new websites or talking to people online. Whether you are using the internet for school or for entertainment and fun, you should always understand how to protect yourself and keep yourself safe so that you can have a good online experience.
Use Strong Passwords
Most of the time, you need to create an account so that you can use online services like Netflix or TikTok. If you are signing up to something online, then using a strong password is important. If you have your own laptop or smartphone that is not shared with anybody else, then you can set the device up to suggest a strong, hard-to-guess password and save it only on your device for you to use later, so you don’t have to remember them all. Strong passwords make it impossible for anybody but you to get into your account.
Use Anti-Virus Software
Viruses are types of software that can get onto your computer and cause trouble for you. They might steal files from your computer or just make it go very slow and shut down randomly. Either way, they are something that you will always want to avoid. Viruses can often get onto your computer secretly and you might not even know that you have one. So, it’s a good idea to use an anti-virus software program on your computer. You can use this to scan in the background and send you notifications if it finds anything that isn’t quite right.
Be Careful What You Share
The internet can be a great place to socialise and meet like-minded people, especially when social media is as big and popular as it is today. However, it’s important to remember that not everybody on the internet is your friend. Even if you have been chatting to somebody in messages for a long time and they seem like a great person, you just don’t know who they really are unless you have met them in person. So, be very careful what you share about yourself. There’s nothing wrong with talking to people about the hobbies and interests that you share, but don’t tell them where you live, where you go to school, or who your family are, for example.
Speak to Somebody You Trust
If you are being approached online by somebody that you do not know, then you should always speak to somebody that you trust about it such as a parent, carer, teacher, older sibling, or social worker. While it might be harmless, there are bad people out there who use the internet to get close to young people with the intention of hurting them. Always let somebody know if you have received an online message from somebody who you don’t know.
Always Log Out of Public Devices
If you use the internet on public computers at school or a library that other people can use once you have finished whatever you were doing on them, then make sure that you always log out of anything you were logged into.
If you have a limited amount of time on the computer, be sure to give yourself plenty of time before your session finishes to log out of any accounts you are logged into. Don’t close the browser window without logging out first. When you are logging in, don’t click the ‘remember me’ button if you are on a shared computer, as this will keep you logged in and may allow the next person to use the computer to access your account.
Be Careful of Phishing and Scams
Phishing is when somebody online tries to trick you into giving them information like your password for an account. There are lots of ways that you can be tricked online so it is important not to believe everything you see or hear. Emails are a common way that scammers try to phish so be careful about the emails that you open or believe. Unless you are expecting an email, it’s best to just delete any that you don’t recognise. Don’t click on any links in emails that ask you to log into somewhere, unless you know you have just requested the email.
Cover Your Webcam
If you have a laptop or a computer with a webcam, it’s a good idea to cover it whenever you are not using it. There are some computer viruses that allow somebody else to access your webcam and spy on you without you knowing. This does not happen a lot but it’s always best to be safe. You can also help to prevent it by using a good anti-virus software on your laptop that will send you a notification if any viruses are found.
Think Before Posting!
If you are old enough to have an account on social media sites like Instagram or TikTok, then take some time to think before you post something. Once you have posted something online, it can often be very difficult to get rid of it. Even if you delete the original post, it might be shared, or somebody might take a screenshot or a screen recording. Don’t share, upload, or post anything that you wouldn’t want your parents, guardians, teachers, or a future boss to see.
Whether you use the internet a lot for schoolwork or like to go online to do fun things and find out new information, knowing how to keep yourself safe when using the internet is an important skill to have.
Language that Cares
February 20 2023
At FCA Scotland we have launched our Language that Cares Charter in consultation with children and young people to help ensure that we all use language which is more positive and more importantly, sanctioned by our children and young people.
The Promise - What it Means For You
February 1 2023
This blog will give our young people some information about FCA Scotland and our commitment to The Promise, and what it means for you.
Why is eating a balanced diet important?
December 8 2022
Some foods are better for you than others. A lot of food is tasty but eating too much of it probably won’t make you feel very good. Why is it important to eat a balanced diet? Let’s find out.
Should I tell people I’m in foster care?
December 6 2022
Going into foster care is bound to spark some big emotions. You might feel anger, sadness, grief, confusion, anxiety, embarrassment, and general defiance. This post will help you work through some of the bigger feelings in this area.
What to Do if You're Being Bullied
December 1 2022
Bullying can come in a lot of different forms. It is something a lot of people experience at some point in their lives, but it is never something you should have to put up with. Nobody deserves to be put down, made to feel unsafe, or physically hurt by bullies.
Let us help find your next job
December 8 2022
If you are thinking about getting a job, then here is some advice about where to look, how to apply, and what to expect from interviews
Life Skills You Need to Be Independent
December 3 2022
With the right life skills, you will be less stressed and find it easier to live independently. Here are eight life skills you need to be independent.