Staying safe online

Some useful tips for staying safe online.

This content has been written for children and young people. If you’re looking for information for over 18s, visit our Types of Crime information about staying safe online.

Millions of children and young people use the internet every day, and most stay safe. It can be a great place to talk to friends, share your interests in everything from sports and gaming to music, film and fashion, and it’s a useful resource – particularly for schoolwork!

But it’s really important for everyone, especially children and young people, to understand the dangers and know the simple rules to follow that can help you to stay out of trouble.

Young teenage girl using phone.

There is advice on protecting yourself from specific online crime in other sections of the site, but these are some general rules to help you stay safe.

  • Don’t post any of your personal information online – this includes your address, phone number, email address and school.
  • Keep the privacy settings on all your social media accounts as high as possible. This will stop people you don’t know being able to look at your profile. All social media sites have guides that tell you how to set your privacy.
  • Never give your passwords to anyone, especially to people you don’t know.
  • As a rule, what starts online should stay online, so don’t meet up with people you’ve met on the internet as they may not be who they have said they are. Speak to your parent/carer if anyone asks you to meet up.
  • Think about what you say before you post something online. If you wouldn’t want your parents, friends, school or family to see it then don’t post it.
  • Don’t post anything that might be hurtful or offensive about someone, even if you are angry at the time. Once it’s posted you can’t take it back.
  • Be careful about posting videos or pictures online. Once they’re posted people may be able to download them and then they are out of your control.
  • If you see something online (on a website, in a chat room) that makes you feel uncomfortable or scared, tell an adult that you trust about it.
  • Turn off or cover your webcam when you’re not using it.

Victim Support’s Children and Young People Services – you can contact your nearest Victim Support office, call the 24/7 Supportline, contact us via live chat, or if you are 16 or older, you can create a My Support Space account. This is a free, safe and secure online space where you can work through interactive guides to help you move forward after crime.

Thinkuknow – this website has lots of information on how to keep safe online for young people of all ages, as well as parents and teachers.

Childline – 24-hour support for young people, both on the phone and through online chats and message boards: 0800 1111.

The Mix – information and support for under 25s on a whole range of issues. Get confidential help by email, text, webchat or phone: 0808 808 4994.

UK Safer Internet Centre – activities to inform you on how to use the internet and technology safely.