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The internet has become a part of everyday life and has made many things easier. Unfortunately, using online services and social media also comes with risks. We’ve put together some tips to help keep you safe online.

Passwords and security

  • Choose your passwords carefully. Try not to use the same passwords for all your online accounts.
  • Make sure that you protect mobile devices with a PIN or passcode.
  • Install security software on any device you use to access the internet.
  • Security software will prompt you to update it from time to time. Don’t ignore these prompts – they include security updates to help keep you safe online.

Your information and money

  • Avoid sharing too much personal or financial information online. It can be used by scammers and fraudsters.
  • Always be aware that people may not be who they say they are, both online and over the phone.
  • Only open links or attachments when you know and trust where they’ve come from.
  • Be wary of making bank transfers to individuals or companies you don’t know.
  • Take your time and never be pressured into making payments online.
  • Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it’s probably a scam.

For more information and safety tips, visit Get Safe Online. This is a specialist website that covers all areas of online safety.

Protecting children and young people online

We understand how worrying online activity can be for parents and carers. If children and young people spend time online, they are at risk of:

  • being targeted by criminals
  • grooming
  • cyber-bullying
  • exposure to adult content
  • radicalisation
  • damaging their reputation
  • self-harm.

It’s important to talk to your young people about:

  • the sites they visit and what their online interests
  • setting time limits for online activity
  • the importance of keeping up with real-life interests and relationships
  • what should and shouldn’t be posted online
  • what you can learn from them about the internet
  • how people they meet online may not be who they say they are
  • what to do if they’re worried about anything they’ve seen online.

If you’re worried that your young person is unsafe online and they won’t talk to you about it, you should tell the police. If they’re missing or in immediate danger, call 999.

Every young person is different, but there are some common signs that things aren’t right:

  • they become more secretive and stop spending time with their usual friends
  • you don’t know where they’re going or who they’re with
  • they stay out late or don’t come back at night
  • they get odd calls or messages on their phone or social media accounts
  • they have new clothes or expensive items and can’t explain where they came from.

This is a huge area of advice and not something we can fully cover at LVWS. We’ve put together links to specialist organisations that can help you to keep your young people safe online.

Get Safe Online

The Cyber Helpline

UK Safer Internet Centre

National Cyber Security Centre

Internet Matters

Parents Against Child Exploitation

Find support near you