Internet safety

Are you worried about your own safety online?

It can be frightening and embarrassing to come across something you know is illegal on the internet. Perhaps you've done something unintentionally and are worried about the consequences. The important thing is to be aware and make sure you do the right thing:

  • Never tell a stranger your email, telephone number, mobile number or address.
  • Consider changing your email address if you think a stranger knows it.
  • Tell your parents or a teacher if you're worried about something or someone that you have come across on the internet.
  • Use a moderated chat room - you can chat all you like, but an adult will be keeping an eye out in case of any problems.
  • Don't give out details about your school or college.
  • Never email a photo of yourself or arrange to meet someone from the web.
  • Keep your age, sex and location secret - don't say where you live, just give the general area if you're asked, for example ‘London’.
  • Don't believe everything you read - sometimes people don't tell the truth.
  • Use your common sense; if something seems wrong or makes you feel uncomfortable, don't reply and tell a parent or other responsible adult.

Always tell someone if something is happening that you don't like.

Some examples of what to look out for:

  • Someone you've met in a chat room wants to meet up.
  • You are asked for personal details or a photo.
  • You get an email that's rude or says nasty things.
  • Someone you've met online wants you to keep a secret or not tell your parents.
  • Cyber bullying - writing nasty things on someone's profile or sending unpleasant emails, texts or instant messages.

What to do

There are many different ways that inappropriate internet activity can affect you. Here are some suggestions of what you can do about it:

  • Try to learn more about internet safety to get a better idea about how it can affect you and the people around you - take a look at our ‘More advice and info’ page.
  • Talk to someone you can trust about it; it might be your parents or someone else at home, or perhaps a teacher at school.
  • You could speak to a professional in confidence at ChildLine on 0800 1111 - you won't have to give your name - they're just there to help.

If you've come across something illegal online or fear for your safety you should consider reporting it. See below.

Getting more help

If you've been a victim of cyber bullying take a look at our section dedicated to bullying - either get the facts about bullying, or read our page: ‘Are you being bullied and need some help?’

For more general information about staying safe online visit the ‘Think U Know’ site or take a look at our ‘Get the facts’ or ‘More help and advice’ pages.

If you need technical help, ‘Get Safe Online’ is a particularly useful site for explaining the basics.

If you are concerned about something that has happened online, visit the ‘Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre’ website or to report illegal content go to the Internet Watch Foundation site.

But if you're upset or scared about something you've experienced on the internet or elsewhere maybe you need to talk to someone in confidence about what's happened:

ChildLine is the free helpline for children and young people in the UK. Children and young people can call 0800 1111 to talk about any problem.