Privacy & Safety Settings
Knowing how to protect your privacy while online is very important.
The internet is a global, public space full of lots of people and lots of ideas. It can be easy to think that you have nothing worth stealing, but this is not the case! Your personal information is very valuable. If you forget to protect it properly, then you put yourself at even more risk of harm. This might include private things being shared with lots of different people.
There are many ways you can keep your private information safe. Things like strong passwords, switching off location settings, and not being afraid to block suspicious accounts take your privacy from zero to hero! Take control of your online profile by following these easy steps.
Top tips for how to stay protected online
Set accounts to private.
Make sure that you are signing up for platforms with ‘private’ accounts or switch your current accounts to this setting. This will help you manage how much information you let others see.
Protect your personal info.
Do not give out private information (such as bank details or passwords), reply to text messages, download attachments or click on any links in emails if you’re not sure they’re genuine.
Review your followers.
Do the work to protect your accounts by reviewing your followers and removing anyone you don’t know and trust offline.
While this can be a good safety tool for sharing with family or close friends to let them know you are safe, also sharing this information with strangers can lead to potential dangers.
Use a strong password.
It’s a good idea to use three random words to keep your password long and strong! (i.e. dog-purple-sunshine) You should also consider changing it every 90 days or once a season.
Report / block platforms.
No matter which platform you are using, make sure you know how to access and use the reporting and blocking features. Using them will help keep you and everyone else comfortable and safe!
Be cautious and block.
Any misleading websites, emails, phone numbers, phone calls or text messages you think may be suspicious.
- Forward suspicious emails to [email protected] and the National Cyber Security Centre will investigate it.
- Forward suspicious text messages to 7726 – it’s free. This will report the message to your mobile phone provider.
- If you come across a hoax, scam or risky online challenge you should report it directly to the platform to try and get it removed. This way it helps to prevent other people from being tricked. If you have been scammed online, contact the police on 101.
Talk to a trusted adult.
If something or someone makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable online, then talk to an adult you trust and they will support you. If you want to speak to someone else then reach out for support.
Police Service of Northern Ireland
If you are worried or concerned about something, please make sure you speak to an adult you trust.
You can contact Childline about anything. Whatever your worry, it’s better out than in. They’re here to support you.