What’s the issue?
The internet and mobile electronic devices have changed how we live. You can contact people you know, and meet lots of new people online who share your interests. Because it all seems so natural, you can feel like you know people better than you really do.
Why does it matter?
- Whenever you interact with other people you share things about yourself – some of it on purpose, and some of it without meaning to.
- Online, the other person can be whoever, and however, they want you to think they are.
- It can be surprising how much information about you can be available online when you do a lot of stuff on social media. Companies buy and sell this information.
- Scammers work very hard to trick even cautious people into giving away personal details.
Personal should be private
- Your personal information is valuable. Keep it protected on social networks by using a pseudonym (like a code name) when possible.
- When you register for many online competitions you are often asked to provide a lot of personal information – often on non-secure sites. These sites are not respecting your privacy. Before you type in all that stuff, think about what information is being asked for and why.
Some people are trying to trick you
- Many people make their living from scamming other people online. You will be much safer from their scams if you talk openly about your activities with trusted older people, and don’t keep secrets.
Enjoy the social networking world – safely
- Use sites that are designed for people your age.
- Know and use the protection provided in the security settings of the sites and apps you use.
- Learn about social networking by interacting with people you know offline.
Printable advice sheet