Online safety UK

How do you make sure you stay safe online? Everyone who uses the internet needs to know how to use it safely. Read about online safety in the UK. 


Do the preparation task first. Then read the article and do the exercises to check your understanding.

In the UK 96 per cent of young people regularly use the internet to communicate, according to a survey of 24,000 British people aged from 9 to 11. A report shows that only 40 per cent of young people know that personal information shared online stays online forever. There are about 250 million tweets generated every day and around 800 million Facebook users  that means a lot of information is shared online. So are young people using the internet safely?

Private or public

Do you know how to change your privacy settings on social media? For example, you can click on the ‘flower’ icon or on ‘settings’ on Facebook to get to your privacy settings. Then you can decide who sees your posts and personal information: friends, friends of friends or everyone. Do you want everyone in the world to be able to see your email address or just friends?

The BBC Share Take Care campaign is all about helping everybody, from little kids to the over-55s, to make their online activity safer and protect themselves on the web. The campaign says adults and teenagers need to be more careful with personal information and images online. An online security expert from the BBC was given only the names and the home town of two pairs of mothers and daughters in the UK and then he searched online for information that they had shared in social media. One mother and daughter pair are keen Twitter users. They had frequent personal Twitter chats that they thought were private but were in fact public! Now they both know that Twitter has a private messaging function and their chats really are private. The other mother was very embarrassed when the security expert showed her a picture of her partner in his underpants! She had forgotten about posting the photograph and quickly removed it. The security expert also found lots of their personal details like dates of birth, addresses, maiden names, favourite football teams and popstars. Nothing embarrassing, but potentially useful information for a cyber criminal.

Be kind and stay safe

Everybody knows that we should be polite and kind to people in real life and online. Unfortunately sometimes this doesn’t always happen. Where can you report online abuse or unkind messages to yourself or your friends? Do you know how to report inappropriate content online? For example, if you see an inappropriate tweet on Twitter you can click on ‘more’ and then choose ‘Report tweet’. You can then block all further tweets from that user.

Even well-liked celebrities can be targeted by cyberbullies. Tom Daley, the British Olympic diver, was abused online. His father died during the 2012 Olympic Games and Tom received some very cruel tweets about this.

Here are our top five tips for staying safe online:

  1. Be nice! Treat people online as you do in real life.
  2. Don’t post anything online that you wouldn’t want people in real life to see.
  3. Check your privacy and security settings on social media sites and keep them as private as possible. Make sure you know exactly who can see your posts.
  4. Don’t ever post personal information like your home address, your email or your phone number.
  5. If you see something online that worries or upsets you, tell an adult about it straight away.

Safer Internet Day

Safer Internet Day, or SID for short, tries to help people to use the internet correctly. SID started in 2004 and is organised in February every year in 74 countries around the world to promote safe and responsible use of online technology and mobile phones. Each year there is a different topic such as cyberbullying or social networking. The focus for SID’s next campaign is ‘Let’s create a better internet together’. SID organisers want children and young people, parents and carers, teachers and educators, as well as industry and politicians to work together to build a better internet for all of us, but particularly for children and young people.

There are special lessons prepared for schoolchildren on Safer Internet Day in Britain. The UK Safer Internet Centre will be working with schools in the UK to encourage young people to help other people stay safe. You can find out about SID on this website:


How do you make sure you stay safe online? 

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Submitted by GeorgeCharnley on Thu, 01/11/2024 - 08:58

i use social media all the time and consequently i have had my IP grabbed various times.

Submitted by Arivelde on Tue, 06/08/2021 - 15:43

I don't really use social media for posting things, I don't use it much either. But when I do, I don't show my e-mail adress, phone number or localisation.
Profile picture for user Andrii

Submitted by Andrii on Thu, 03/25/2021 - 19:07

I don't post personal information like home adress and email adress

Submitted by anna_v3r on Thu, 06/04/2020 - 09:12

I don't share my private informations online and before posting everything I make sure that I'm not violating any rules on the social media.

Submitted by mmatildepontoni04 on Sun, 05/17/2020 - 09:12

I don't share private information such as my home address, my phone number.... I don't publish personal photos and my account is private, so to follow me I have to admit people's request. To take care of our privacy we shouldn't post everything about us like travelling to somewhere.

Submitted by gio_cra2004 on Fri, 04/24/2020 - 16:29

I don't share private information such as address or phone number on social media and don't post inappropriate photos on my profile. All my profiles are private so I only accept friend requests from who I know. All of this is important to protect yourself and stay safe online.

Submitted by vittoriadigianno on Fri, 04/24/2020 - 12:27

for my privacy i don't post personal information for example my home address and my telephone number

Submitted by Gabriele1926 on Wed, 04/22/2020 - 14:39

For my online privacy, I don't post on social network my personal information, like where I live, what I do, or other things like these. And my profile is private.

Submitted by Matteo on Wed, 04/22/2020 - 14:28

I'mI'm pretty safe on intenet i have a couple of antivirus, I didn't give my personal information on websites that i don't know and I don't accept friend's request from someone that i don't know

Submitted by giogiomas on Wed, 04/22/2020 - 14:27

I usually don't post my personal data, such as my address or phone number. I don't publish personal photos and my social media accounts are always private, so to follow me I have to accept people's request. It is important to stay safe online to protect your privacy.

Submitted by alaricofranca02 on Wed, 04/22/2020 - 08:33

I'm safe on the internet because I don't accept people I don't know and I try to stay in front of various notifications
Profile picture for user Youjiro

Submitted by Youjiro on Thu, 02/21/2019 - 14:11

I have a safe on life,I use AVG antivirus software to make safe on the internet.on other hand I don't use social media so often. I have never trouble on the internet ,I use g mail or social media to contact with friend on purpose.It's quite easy to get information. safe social media is on the discussion since facebook appear. User who use social media care about crime on the internet.
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