a) What online safety is
E-safety is a huge issue for everyone, not just young people. It can affect the lives of everyone today and in the future if it is not handled carefully. Current research shows that children have a presence on the internet even before they are born, through the sharing of scans. The internet is also one of the greatest achievements and an amazing resource, but it needs to be handled very carefully. Today we all use so much technology that uses the internet:
- even home appliances
b) Risks of new technology
The use of the internet is an amazing, useful resource and can be fun at the same time if used correctly and safely, but it is important to know the risks that come from unsafe use of the internet. These risks affect both children and adults alike and can have a massive impact on the lives of the individuals affected by it.
Bullying/harassment – The the internet has now allowed people to communicate 24/7 which is great but it means that you can be harassed 24/7, have images and video shared and people can upload information about you. It can seem like you are never alone and can’t get away from the bullies.
- Lack of control of images/videos – This is a huge issue that is affecting large numbers of young people and adults alike. Once you post/upload/send an image or video over the internet you have lost control of it. This means that you can not control who then sees the image, who saves it, who shares it or who views it ever again. Can you really trust the person you are sending or sharing it with?
- Your ‘digital footprint’ – Everyone who uses the internet and uses social media or lets others post about them is developing a digital footprint. This is the online history or trail that follows you for your life. For most people this is a harmless thing, but for some people if you have shared/posted pictures or videos or comments that may affect you in later life this can a be issue, as what goes online never truly comes off the internet. You never know when your digital footprint is going to cause you problems. Employers, colleges, sixth forms, law enforcement and universities are now searching the internet for information on candidates and you don’t want your digital footprint to affect you.
- Future career/job issues – This links to your digital footprint as you don’t want something you did in your teenage years or further on in life to come back and affect you. There are too many stories in the media of people losing jobs, college places and more, due to careless use of the internet. The most common two are posting pictures on social media and writing posts on Twitter that get into the public domain. You need to remember that the internet is a public domain and even things on private profile count as being in the public domain.
- Where your posts, images, video might end up – Remember that once you post/share you have no control what happens to it. You cannot control who sees it and what they may do with it. Just take some time and think before you click.
- The legal implications – The internet is the real world and what you do on the internet and what you do in the street is covered under the same laws. You are legally responsible for what you put on the internet. This means you are liable for anything you post or share online, the Police will use the internet as evidence and you can find yourself in trouble or charged with a host of offences and the evidence will be online in your name.
c) How to keep safe/manage these risks
There are some really easy steps and things to do to help keep you and your friends safe online as you are only as safe as your friends are online.
- Remember the internet is a public place – this means that information on a private profile can be counted as public information.
- Remember that post, tweet, picture or video once online could be viewed by anyone.
- Never share something unless you are happy for the world to see it – unless you are happy with the world, parents, family or friends seeing something, don’t post it.
- Remember, once something goes online it never comes off – you can never again control what happens to it so think, take a minute.
- Images and text can always be copied, saved or shared by someone else – just take a minute to think before you hit post.
- Old accounts – if you have old accounts that are no longer used get them closed down properly.
- Review your settings – social media sites are always updating and changing settings to do with your privacy so it is worth checking regularly that you have the settings you need.
- Google yourself – it is a really good idea to Google yourself and Google your user names to find out what comes up about you.
- Reporting – Use the reporting features within every social networking site
Safety Guides for Social Media:
Interesting articles for parents on online safety:
Moderate screen use boosts teen well being: This article offers a useful suggestion for parents as well as an alternative view on young people and ‘screen time’
Is your child a cyberbully and if so, what should you do?
This is a clip that is designed to be seen and shared by teenagers (and their parents
This is a great page detailing what apps are being used by young people and what they actually do. If you click further in – it goes into what is age-appropriate and the dangers around each site!
It can be hard to keep track of what your child is doing on social networks, apps and games. Or know how to keep them safe. The NSPCC has launched a new video to raise awareness and give parents and carers the confidence and skills to talk to their child about staying safe online.