There are 5 basic needs that every human needs to survive, air, water, food, shelter and sleep, but is there a 6th need now? Connectivity? How could we survive without being online!?
We go online for everything: school work, finding jobs, paying bills, gaming, socialising, dating, watching TV, learning skills etc. etc. It’s so easy to access the Internet on your phone, tablet, computer, gaming platform, smart TV etc. But is everyone aware of the dangers and pitfalls of the Internet? Do you know how to keep safe online?
Online Safety Advice in Cardiff
Healthy Relationships Service – YMCA Cardiff Sexual Health Outreach Team – Specialist, confidential and tailored sexual health and relationship advice. Providing information about risk taking behaviours and keeping safe.
Family Wellbeing Service – Barnardo’s Cymru – Supporting parents/carers of children and young people with emotional and mental health and wellbeing.
Grassroots Youth Support Workers – Open access youth service support at a city centre location for young people aged 16 to 25.
Cardiff Get Online (Digital Inclusion) – Available to all residents of Cardiff. Free informal drop-in sessions helping with computer skills, setting up an email account, using the internet, help with online banking, shopping, social media, paying bills and more.
Cardiff and Vale Citizens Advice – The Citizens Advice Bureau outlines some of the common scams that people fall for. They also have a section looking at banking security and fraud along with lots of information about all kinds of subjects.
University Student Advice Guides – When you move out of home to go to University your normal support systems may not be there, or as easy to access, so these guides were created by SWGFL to help. Surviving in Online Communities; Online Dating; Pornography; Privacy and Reputation
Digizen – Information to strengthen awareness and understanding of digital citizenship, and becoming responsible digital citizens. Advice and resources on social networking and cyberbullying.
SWGFL Social Media Checklists – SWGFL has produced lots of little checklists on how to keep control of your privacy on social media such as who can see your posts, controlling friends/followers, how to block, how to report etc. Check out their checklists for Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram.
NSPCC – The NSPCC have a few online safety tools. Share Aware encourages parents and children to have an open conversation and be aware of what they are sharing online. Net Aware is a guide for parents and carers to the most popular sites, apps and games that young people use, based on reviews by children, young people, parents and carers.
The Mix – Support service for under 25’s. They have a load of information and advice about online safety issues. Information on Cyberbullying and Online dating are just some of the subjects dealt with.
Childnet – Childnet have a Hub for young people aged 11-18 with top tips, competitions, blogs and advice to help you use the Internet safely, responsibly and positively. They also have advice about social networking, video chat and webcams, and online reputation.
ThinkUKnow has different sections for different ages when it comes to keeping you safe online. For 11-13 year olds they have information on keeping yourself safe and keeping the Internet fun. The section for 14+ looks at sex, relationships and the Internet.
BBC Own It – Helping you to be the boss of your online life. Get advice and help on all kinds of online problems, get skills connected to vlogging, gaming and creating, be inspired with what’s new and get involved by taking control of your online life.
Hwb – The Hwb has a special e-safety section with lots of useful information and organisations that can help.
Be Internet Legends – Helping you to make the most of the Internet by making smart decisions. Follow their code to use the web safely and wisely.
Kidsmart – Lots of information about how to be SMART online covering things like chatting, safe searching, digital footprint, games, social networking and more.
Get Safe Online – Lots of information about how to protect your computer, protect yourself, online shopping and banking, social networking, spam and scams and more.
Grooming, sexting and revenge porn
**Please note: It is illegal to take, distribute or download explicit content of young people aged under 18. This is matter for the police**
So You Got Naked Online – there are lots of warnings about not sharing naked or risqué images but what if you’ve already been sexting and have lost control over who the images are being shared with online? This leaflet by SWGFL has help and advice for young people who find themselves in this situation.
Revenge Porn Helpline – Helping those aged over 18 who have been victims of revenge porn (when someone shares private sexual materials with others without consent). E-mail email@example.com or call 0345 6000 459 10am-4pm weekdays.
CEOP – If you’re worried about online sexual abuse or the way someone has been communicating with you online then you can report this to CEOP. A lot of websites have the CEOP button on their pages already to make it easier for you to report online abuse.
It’s Not Okay – Information if you’re thinking about sexting, if you’re being pressurised to do it and what steps you can take.
As well as keeping yourself safe from other people online you need to know how to keep yourself safe legally. Copyright laws are there to protect intellectual property (stuff that other people have created). If you’re using images or videos that you’ve found online, then you need to be aware of copyright laws or you could get yourself into trouble. Check out Copy Rights and Wrongs to learn more about this, and if you want to find images that are free to use you could use a website like Pixabay or search the Creative Commons. Make sure you credit the owner if it asks you to. Songs and films are also protected by copyright laws, so be aware that it is illegal to download this type of content from file sharing websites without paying for them. If you’re sharing files from your computer, make sure you’re not sharing personal information accidentally. You’re also putting yourself at risk of downloading viruses to your computer. Check out this File Sharing information from KidSMART
This is when you start believing and supporting extreme views after being influenced by other people or propaganda. The Internet is being used more and more for radicalisation and being aware of it can help combat this, or can help others identify that this is happening with their friends. Childline have some information about this in their Worries About The World section. There is also information about how social media is being used to radicalise on this Internet Matters information page.
Body Image and Self Worth
Social media is a great way of sharing the fun things that you do, but it is also a great way of making people feel bad about themselves and can have an effect on someone’s self worth and confidence. The people you follow will always share the best photos of themselves; they will use filters and make it look as though they are having the best time in the best places. The effect that this can have on you is that it makes you feel that you’re life isn’t as glam, exciting, pretty, fun etc. It can really have an effect on your self-esteem and mental health. A report by RSPH and the Young Health Movement #StatusofMind found that social media had a negative effect on young people’s mental health, with Instagram being the worst culprit. If you’re struggling with confidence or self worth issues then call the Meic helpline who can talk things through with you and can find ways to help. Or you can visit YoungMinds, an organisation that fights for young people’s mental health. Beat can help anyone suffering with eating disorders.
If you need more information about any online safety issues and services that can help contact the Meic helpline. Meic is an advocacy, advice and information helpline for children and young people in Wales. Call free on 080880 23456, text 84001 or Instant Message.
Useful Apps & Games
Internet Matters App – Tablets only – Apple iTunes – Google Play – Helping parents and their children to learn about online safety issues. Looking at chatting, cyberbullying, privacy & theft, downloading, making friends, adult content, gaming, sharing & competitions and adverts. Answer questions to earn points.
Interland – This adventure packed online game makes learning about Internet safety interactive and fun. Help internauts to combat hackers, phishers, over sharers and bullies by practicing the skills you need to be a confident online explorer.
Digizen the game – To play this game you need to watch the Let’s Fight It Together Cyberbullying film first. You can then create your own character which will go to the same school as the boy who’s being bullied. In the game you can make decisions on how to help him, helping you to become a responsible digital citizen and keeping safe online.
Blogs and guides
Playing It Safe On Your First Date – Online dating advice – North Wales Police
The Instagram Effect – Student Pocket Guide
Online Grooming: Charlotte’s Story – Childline