Written by: Emily on May 18, 2017Tags: Guest Blogger, Inspiration
The internet has become a massive part of modern life for every student. It’s fantastic for connecting with friends and family, and sharing memories. However, it can effectively put students in contact with the wrong people. Personal safety should always be kept in mind when logging on to the web, so let’s find out why it is important for young people to learn how to protect themselves.
Online bullying is often not taken seriously, however, it can be just as harmful as bullying in person. Spreading rumours, exclusion from social groups, and direct abuse is all forms of bullying than can be carried out online. In fact, the internet can make these bullying methods even more effective. With everyone being connected by social media, spreading lies and gossip about someone is much easier done via the net. Also with students’ social lives gaining an increasingly large online component, it is all too easy to use exclusion tactics on them with a few clicks. Finally, it is possible to receive insults and abuse at any time in the form of an instant message.
The effects of online bullying can be exactly the same as in-person bullying. It can result in low self-esteem, depression, and even suicide. It is essential to try to avoid it or prevent it. When using social media, or other messaging software, only communicate with genuine friends. If someone is giving you a hard time, do not respond to their messages because it will just give them more ammunition to use against you. Remember, you can always block someone with a click of a button.
When chatting with people online who you don’t know, do not use your real name but an alias instead. Never give out personal information to these strangers either. If you are trying to build an online friendship, then take it one step at a time and get to know the person first.
Remember not everyone is who they say they are online. There are many people who prey on young girls, so always be vigilant about who you communicate with online. They usually operate by using social media and dating sites and apps. If you are ever asked to send photos to someone you have never met, be wary. Extreme caution should also be used when meeting up with someone you only know from the internet. If you do decide to go through with such a meeting, make sure it is in a public place, and always let a friend know where you will be.
If you get to the point where you feel unsafe communicating with a particular person then cease communication. Should they continue attempts to communicate, block them.
Care should be taken when giving out personal information online. Posting things like your address or phone number, on websites or social media, for all the world to see, is never a good idea. Only share sensitive information with friends through private messages.
It is becoming increasingly common for students to post extremely personal information about their lives on Facebook and other social media. The consequences of this “oversharing” can be drastic. Girls have been stalked by other students and even adults, by posting information related to their whereabouts online.
Care should also be taken when sending or receiving sexually explicit photos. “Sexting” has become incredibly popular among students. However, it can get you in a lot of trouble. These images can end up in the wrong hands and come back to haunt you later. It is also illegal in the UK to possess indecent photos of someone under the age of 18. So always consider the long-term consequences of sending and receiving such images.
The internet has become a cornerstone of student life. This reliance on it for day-to-day life can have negative consequences, meaning that all students should have strong knowledge on how to keep themselves safe. There are plenty of good people online, but there are bad people as well, so be cautious and diligent when you log on.
Visit the UK safer internet centre for more advice on this topic.
Written by Nicola Riding
Nicola Riding is a 26-year-old who works for Statuo in Horwich. She’s a graphic design and outreach specialist who loves what she does. She writes for inventry.co.uk and lives in Manchester, UK. She is getting married this year and loves everything 80’s from hip-hop music to fashion.Back to news and views