Safety online - guidance for young people

The internet is a fun way to chat to new people and learn but you must be very careful who you talk to and what information you give out.


Chatting online

  • Trust your instincts. If you feel nervous about anything online, you should tell a family member or friend about it.
  • Use a clever nickname rather than your real name. 
  • Don't give out any personal information. Never give out your address, phone number, or any other information about yourself, like where you go to school or where you like to play or hang out. 
  • Remember the difference between right and wrong is the same on the internet as it is in real life. Don't be rude or bully anyone, they have as much right to use the chat rooms and games as you without being picked on. It is easy today to track back to a person being nasty online so you can easily be caught and get in trouble.
  • Never meet online friends in person or give out your phone number or pictures. You don't really know who you are meeting, even if you've seen their photo. 
  • If someone is bullying you on line do not reply to them. If you are in a chat room or using an instant messaging service there should be a block or ignore option.


  • Don't write anything too personal. Don't put your real name, address, or where you go to school. Don't make it easy for people to find you if they want to.
  • Use privacy options. Some blogging pages have options so you can allow only friends to read your blog.
  • Don't meet anyone offline. People you chat to online may not be who they seem. Even if you have seen their photo it doesn't necessarily mean that photo is really them.
  • Be careful when adding photos. Anyone can access your page and see your pictures. If you put a photo of yourself up someone may recognise it and see that it is your blog.  Also a stranger reading your blog could recognise you in the street.
  • Check your comments. If you receive any worrying comments then tell an adult and block the person leaving them if you can. Don't respond to them.
  • Don't lie about your age. Rules about age may be put on a site for a reason. If the site is for adults you may receive comments or see content that you won't like.


  • Not everything you read or see online is true. If you are not sure then ask a friend or family member.
  • Parental controls can help you filter out bad emails and sites, ask your parents or a family member to help you set them up.
  • If you see anything which upsets you on a website, just turn off the screen and go and talk to an adult about it, don't feel embarrassed because it's really easy to come across bad sites by mistake.
  • If you are being bullied on someone's blog or website, tell an adult or report it to your ISP (Internet service provider) who will be able to advise you on how to get it removed.
  • If you are worried about someone reading your internet history it is usually very easy to delete.


  • Only give your number to people you know and trust.
  • Get your friend's permission before taking pictures of them with your phone and be very careful who you forward those pictures to, you never know where they might end up.
  • If you are receiving nasty text messages or phone calls, do not reply or speak back, try and keep a record of them and go and tell an adult. They will help you get the number barred or track down who the caller is.
  • Never give out your friend's numbers without them saying you can.
  • Never reply to text messages from some one you don't know.
  • All calls, video and picture messages can be traced back to those that took it in the first place. Remember this before making any calls or videoing something that may get you in trouble later.


You can find further information on the internet and other issues from the sites listed on our links page