Staying Safe Online

February 11, 2020

The internet is kind of like the real world, as in the universe. It seems to keep expanding and anything is possible. Ask Google how to create your own computer game and you will find one hundred different ways to do it. There are some aspects of the internet we know very little about, posing the highest risk to children.

To celebrate Safer Internet Day we looked at what we can do to protect children and young people using the web. 


Image of child with paint on his hand looking happy

Parental guidance is found on all media and entertainment.

But did you know you can protect children from inappropriate pop-ups or search results? 65% of young people aged 11-16 voted in favour of parental controls ( Find out how to configure parental controls across all devices and networks at

Scammers are also getting smarter, this is an easy way for fraudsters to steal money and for hackers to take control of your online devices. Phishing emails pretending to be from banks, asking you to redeem a prize or selling counterfeit products are all very common.

Before responding or giving any of your payment details over to a company or individual online, always check the reviews first! Whether this is asking Google if your email from John Smith is real or researching a review of the company you are buying from before paying at the checkout. This simple trick will always save you money in the long term.

Financial Fraud Action offers advice on how to spot and stop online scams, visit


Image of mobile phone screen with various apps

Social Media is here to stay, and it can be difficult to decipher what is real and fake when everyone is trying to ensure their profile stands out. Catfishing and online bullying are a part of the same problem, as often people pretend to be someone else to get away with deceiving or harassing people online. If a profile has only one picture or doesn’t have any pictures with friends, this is more than likely a fake account. Other ways to spot a catfish include:

  • low quality profile pictures (as the image may be stolen or cropped)

  • use of improper grammar

  • this person being very forward or asking for money

  • elaborate storytelling

Image of young woman sitting on a bed smiling at her laptop

(Photo credit:

Ensure young people never meet up with anybody they have met online. Do advise any teenager meeting online friends to go with someone they already know and meet in a very public place. Also be sure to encourage young people to never give out personal information and consistently report any abuse or fake accounts online. If you or anyone you know is suffering from online bullying or catfishing, please contact the NSPCC at or contact the police. People can be sued and/or prosecuted for online bullying according to harassment and defamation regulations and it is possible to take real action.

There are many different levels to online safety partly because the way we use the internet is constantly changing. The has a range of resources and training for parents and children to help stay safe online. Making it easier to stay in control of what your young people are being exposed to and teaching them to make better decisions while using the internet independently. Promoting healthier and more appropriate internet use for years to come!

Written by: Tashauna O'Connor

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