COVID-19: Staying safe online

As we spend more time at home, the internet can be a welcome link to the outside world. Although there are a lot of benefits to connecting with others over the internet there are some important things you can do to make sure you, and any children and young people who you live with, stay safe online.

Keeping children and young people safe online

The ‘Safety net kids’ website has some useful guidance aimed at children, helping them stay safe online:

  • Never give out your passwords.
  • Don’t post any personal information online – like your address, email address or mobile number.
  • Think carefully before posting pictures or videos of yourself. Once you’ve put a picture of yourself online most people can see it and may be able to download it, it’s not just yours anymore.
  • Keep your privacy settings as high as possible.
  • Don’t befriend people you don’t know.
  • Don’t meet up with people you’ve met online. Speak to your parent or carer about people suggesting you do.
  • Remember that not everyone online is who they say they are.
  • Think carefully about what you say before you post something online.
  • Respect other people’s views, even if you don’t agree with someone else’s views doesn’t mean you need to be rude.
  • If you see something online that makes you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or worried: leave the website, turn off your computer if you want to and tell a trusted adult immediately.

The NSPCC provides a great online resource to help you have conversations with your children about how to stay safe online. Take a look at their website here: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/

Keeping adults safe online

Adults using the internet should take the same precautions as children and young people when using the internet to make sure they stay safe online.

Whilst the internet can be a great way to connect with others and to support your mental health and wellbeing during the Covid-19 response, there are also ways it could make your mental health worse. Mental health charity Mind has produced some useful guidance to staying happy, healthy and safe online. Take a look here: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/online-mental-health/about-online-mental-health/

Working together to prevent terrorism

As well as allowing us to socialise and have fun, online platforms can also be used to exploit vulnerable people. If you are worried someone you care about is being groomed towards violent, extremist activity please seek advice.

The Let’s Talk About It web page has lots of information, including how to spot the signs, and where to seek support if you are worried that one of your friends or family is showing signs of radicalisation. Their website is here.

For more information about staying happy and healthy at home both on and offline, take a look at the other sections of the Healthy Somerset Covid-19 advice site.