The importance of staying safe online cannot be overestimated. There are many dangerous people using the Internet. Many of these dangerous people are very good at pretending to be nice and at winning your trust.
Please read the SMART Guidelines below, for some helpful tips on staying safe online. If you are concerned that you did not abide by these guidelines on any site, please talk to a parent or trusted adult about your concerns.
Secret is the first and one of the most important rules for online safety. Keeping personal information secret should become second nature to online users.
Never give out your name, address or phone number, because it's like giving out the keys to your home.
Never give out your password, because if someone knows your password they can often use it to find out other personal details.
Using chat rooms and message boards is a great way to find out fun things and meet new people, but people you meet in chat rooms can also be dangerous.
Someone who appears nice online, may be very different in person. So arranging to meet in 'real life' is not a safe thing to do.
Children should only ever meet strangers with their parents' permission and when they can be present.
If an adult goes with a child to meet a new chat buddy, always meet in a public place such as a café or shopping centre. You should never meet with anyone who won't accept this rule.
The majority of viruses and files could have no effect on your computer if you don't open them or let them get on there in the first place.
Accepting files or opening e-mails from people you don't really know or trust can get you into trouble.
They may contain viruses or nasty messages that you don't want to read. So don't open or accept files or e-mails you are not expecting.
People you meet online may seem very nice to you, but that doesn't mean that they are telling the truth.
Many people are not who they say they are online and are pretending to be someone else. You wouldn't trust someone you knew in real life if they lied, so don't get tricked in the online world.
To avoid awkward moments, just stick to the public areas in chatrooms and if you feel uncomfortable at all, then just leave!
Many things can happen online that make children feel ashamed or secretive about what they've seen or experienced. Encourage children to tell you about anything that makes them uncomfortable.
Fear of a parent or guardian being cross is often more frightening than the uncomfortable experience they've had online, but that is what some nasty people will count on.
Talk to your children about what they are doing online and encourage them to use the SMART rules at all times.
Consider placing the computer in a shared room of the house so its use does not become secretive and hidden. Make your online use a family affair.
If you are made feel uncomfortable, worried or scared by anything you see or experience on the Internet, please tell one of your parents or a trusted adult about it.