While we are all self-isolating and socially distancing due to Coronavirus, social media platforms, like Twitter, Snapchat and video calls, are a great way to stay in touch with friends and family, share your thoughts and ideas and connect with like-minded people.
Unfortunately, whilst rare, there are negative influencers and online groomers who use the internet, social media and online gaming to spread their extreme ideas, which children can be exposed to. Some of these ideas may be considered radical or extreme and when a person starts to support or be involved in them, this is called radicalisation.
During this difficult time, we will all become more reliant communicating online, watch our film about online gaming here and read through our advice for parents, guardians and carers to make sure you and your family stay safe online. We have also produced lessons with Votes for Schools which may also help you speak with your children about some of these issues which you can find here.
You can also find further online safety advice here.
Meeting someone you have only been in touch with online can be dangerous. Only do so with your parents’ or carers’ permission and even then only when they can be present. Remember online friends are still strangers even if you have been talking to them for a long time.
Don’t give out personal information when you’re chatting or posting online. Personal information includes your email address, phone number and password.
Someone online might lie about who they are and information on the internet may not be true. Always check information by looking at other websites, in books, or with someone who knows. If you like chatting online it’s best to only chat to your real world friends and family.
Children and vulnerable adults can be contacted by bullies and people who want to groom/radicalise or seek to abuse them.
Use the tools provided by online services to manage your digital footprints and ‘think before you post.’ Content posted online can last forever and could be shared publicly by anyone.
Understand how to report to service providers and use blocking and deleting tools. If something happens that upsets you online, it’s never too late to tell someone.
Don’t be pressured into doing something you know is wrong. If it’s something you wouldn’t tell your friends and family about, it’s probably not something you should be doing!
Age-inappropriate or unreliable content can be available to children.
Accepting emails, messages, or opening ﬁles, images or texts from people you don’t know or trust can lead to problems – they may contain viruses or unpleasant messages!
Tell a parent, carer or a trusted adult if someone, or something, makes you feel uncomfortable or worried, or if you or someone you know is potentially being radicalised online.
Use safety tools on social networks and other online services, eg Facebook privacy settings.
Children may be at risk because of their own behaviour, for example, by sharing too much information.