Skip to main content

Staying safe online

Teenagers are social animals. By hanging out with mates and getting to know people you fancy you’ll be developing your relationship skills and exploring your sexuality and sexual orientation, both on- and offline.

Online dating – pros and cons

The world’s your oyster when it comes to online socialising and dating. Most of the time this is really fun, but you do need to be aware of the risks and be smart online.

Watch our for 'catfish'

Don’t be fooled by people who ‘catfish’, and take on a different identity online. Unless you meet someone face to face you don’t know if they really are who they say they are. Is that gorgeous young thing you’re busy chatting with, actually an older adult hiding behind a fake photo?

Sexting

If you’re under 18 it’s illegal to sext and you could get a police caution or end up on the Sex Offenders Register. So be careful!

Sexting normally means sending or receiving:

  • naked shots or 'nudes'
  • 'underwear shots'
  • rude or 'dirty pics'
  • rude text messages or videos

Sexting happens all too easily and it doesn’t take much for it to get out of hand. The last thing you want is a potentially embarrassing photo to get into the wrong hands and be shared on social media. Never, ever feel under pressure to get involved with sexting, however uncool you feel at the time.

And there’s more

Other online safety issues to keep at the back of your mind include:

  • identity theft
  • cyber bullying
  • cyber stalking

Most of the time there’s nothing bad going on, but these issues are far from uncommon, so it’s best to be as clued up as possible.

Top tips for staying safe online

Post button illustration We say: “Think before you speak”. Online you need to think before you post!
Would you say what you’re about to post to the person’s face? If so, you’re good to go, otherwise think again.
People illustration Always think carefully whether what you can see is real, or is someone manipulating you?

Further information

Great practical advice from the Metropolitan Police
'That's not cool' gives some good tips on how to stay safe online
Check out the anti-bullying alliance website for some advice on cyberbullying.
'Child net' have some great advice on staying safe online.

Need urgent help?


Talk to someone