Skip to main content

1. Turn on and control your privacy settings

Check who can see and post on your online profile, such as profiles on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat or any other websites that may give away personal information.

2. Don't share personal details

Keep things like the address, phone number, full name, school and date of birth private, and check what people can see in the privacy settings. Remember that people can use small clues like a school logo in a photo to find out a lot about someone.

3. Switch on MFA to make it harder for someone to hack your accounts

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds another layer of security to the password by asking for another piece of information. For example, you might need to enter the password and then enter a code you’re sent by text message. It’s much more secure because if someone does guess or crack a password then they would still not be able to access an account.

Many apps and sites let you setup MFA, and you could choose to use it whenever you can on any other websites that may hold personal information (e.g. names, addresses, dates of birth, etc.)

(Apps and websites may offer 2FA (i.e. two-factor authentication) and this just means that there are two security steps needed for logging in whereas MFA can be two steps or more).

4. Keep apps and devices safe and up-to-date

Devices, applications, and software often have security flaws that could make them targets for attackers.  It’s very important to make sure that everything is protected by downloading the latest security updates.  The following list gives example of things that that should be checked for updates:

  • Mobile phones,
  • Computers, laptops and notebooks
  • Apps and games
  • Wearable technology - fitness trackers and smart watches
  • Smart devices and speakers like Alexa or Google Home.

Each device is different, but you can usually find out how to enable updates in the settings and the settings often allow for automatic updating. 

It’s also important to use anti-virus software. You can get anti-virus software for mobiles as well as tablets, laptops and PCs. Make sure that you keep it updated or ask an adult to help you.

5. Limit your online friends to people you know

People you meet online may not be who they say they are. 

It's easy for cybercriminals to take someone else's picture and details to pretend to be someone they're not. If you discover some is doing this you should end contact with them and tell a trusted adult.

6. Check first before sharing pictures and videos of other people

Think about your privacy and other people’s privacy before sharing photographs and videos.  Many people do not want to have images of them put on social media or on the internet.  And people might not like a photo or video of them.

If you have found online photos and videos of yourself that you don’t like or did not agree to, ask for them to be removed or speak to someone you trust for help in having them removed.

7. Cover the webcam

Some viruses will let someone access the webcam without you knowing, so make sure you cover the webcam whenever you’re not using it.

8. Once you've posted, you can't take it back

When you post online it will most likely stay there forever in one shape or another. Take some time before you post anything and think, ‘Will I want this online forever?’

9. Don't stand for bullying

Treat others the way you want to be treated, whether online or in person. It can be easier to offend someone when hiding behind a computer screen, but this doesn't make it any better or any less hurtful.

10. Don't pretend to be someone else

It's wrong and hurtful to create sites, pages or posts that appear to come from someone else.

11. Be cautious of avatars (online personas)

There are lots of ways that people try to trick you into trusting them online. Even if you like and trust someone you’ve met online, never share personal information with them like your address, full name, or where you go to school.

This page was last updated on 19/07/2023