What is online safety?

Blocking people and unfollowing people from social media who don’t share your views
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Reading all the terms and conditions for the websites and social media platforms that you use
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The knowledge and understanding of the risks to your personal safety through the use of social media and the internet
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Keeping yourself safe online means learning about dangers to your personal safety and how to deal with them

Why is online safety important?

It’s not important if you have been using the internet safely for years
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Understanding how to stay safe online is mostly important for new internet users
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Online safety enables us to enjoy the benefits the internet has to offer while keeping ourselves protected from harm
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Anyone connected to the internet can be put at risk whether they are aware of the dangers or not! Knowing how to deal with these risks is very important

What information should you not share publicly online?

Sharing information publicly online is ok if you know who everyone in the conversation is
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Sharing information publicly is ok if you are over 18
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You should never share personal information online such as your home address, school name, place of work, phone number or email address
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You should never share any personal, private or confidential information openly online. All information you share publicly can be seen and shared by anyone with access to the internet

What do online privacy and security settings do?

Privacy and security settings stop anybody else accessing your account
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Privacy and security settings help protect young people from being cyberbullied
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Privacy and security settings allow you to control who can see your posts and your account information. They also help to protect your identity and anonymity
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Good knowledge and use of these tools will enable you to choose who sees your posts on your social media accounts

How important is it to understand and use privacy settings and filters online?

Not important! The pop-ups are a waste of time and not worth reading
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They are only important if you are being cyberbullied or abused online
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Very important! Knowing how to use these tools will help to keep you safe on and offline
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Oversharing information, sharing photos publicly or using location tracking could leave you open to a number of risks online and offline

How much can a stranger learn about you from an image you upload to social media?

As long as I cover any information such as names, house numbers or landmarks, they can’t tell who I am or where I am
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If nothing personal is in the photo and I haven’t saved the image with a title that gives away information - then nothing can be learned from my images
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Much more than you think! It is possible to get information from the image itself and also from data displayed within the image file
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Most images, even your social media profile picture, contain sensitive data (EXIF data) that includes your exact GPS location, date, the time it was taken and even the device you used to upload the image

How do you know the person you are communicating with online is who they say they are?

The way they speak seems genuine for the person in the picture
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Their social media bio, shared images and previous posts all add up
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It is impossible to be completely sure that the person you are speaking to is who they say they are
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You can never be totally sure anyone is who they say they are online. Even verified accounts can be hacked or faked, so never assume that a person online is completely genuine unless you know them in real life

What should you do if you feel uncomfortable with someone online?

Tell them they are weird and that you don’t want to speak to them
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Ask them some questions to find out if they are who they say they are
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Stop communicating immediately, block them, tell someone you trust, and if you feel your safety is at risk, call the police
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Never continue to communicate with someone online if you feel uncomfortable about it. Your personal safety and wellbeing should always be a priority so seek support if you need it

What should you do if you discover a website, social media account or receive images that make you feel uncomfortable?

Ignore it and move on
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Share it and see what your friends think
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Close the browser window after making a note of the account ID or URL, report it to the platform and tell someone you trust if you need support
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Offensive or unpleasant online content can be upsetting. Always report anything that you find disturbing, and talk to someone you trust if you feel you have been affected or harmed in any way

When should you accept messages and friend requests from people you don’t know?

Always! It’s great to build as many friends and followers as possible
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If the person is around the same age and likes the same bands or artists
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Almost never! Unless you have some idea of who the person is, you should not accept friend requests or private messages
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If you don’t know someone, then you don’t know what their true intentions are. Always be cautious of strangers online

How long should you know someone online before you meet them?

Regardless of how long you’ve known someone online, you still don’t know who they are in real life. Meeting up with people you only know online is ok if you have a number to call them on
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Providing that their photos and social media posts seem to match up with the person they say they are, it is ok to meet as long as you tell someone where you are going
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Regardless of how long you’ve known someone online, you still don’t actually know who they are in real life. Meeting up with people you only know online is risky for adults and a definite no for children
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Even adults should take precautions such as meeting in a public place or letting a trusted friend know where they are. Children should not even consider meeting in real life, unless you genuinely know the person you’re meeting and parental permission or supervision is in place
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