The internet is a gateway to a whole new world of opportunity, but as more and more of our lives are spent and stored online, it is crucial that we all recognise the dangers that lurk on the internet.
You could be exposed to illegal activity or abuse – be it cyberbullying, fraud or something more serious like grooming and extremism.
Here are a few pointers to help protect you and your devices from anything malicious online.
A form of bullying which occurs online. Often through social media platforms, Cyberbullying is an issue that is difficult to tackle, with many different forms. Some of these forms include exclusion, cyber stalking and harassment.
Cyberbullying is one of the worst forms of bullying, as people believe that they can’t get away from it because it occurs online. Luckily, there are ways that you can report people, if you happen to be on the receiving end of cyberbullying. There is also the ‘block’ button available, which can be useful.
Online banking is becoming a lot more secure, with more than just a password preventing people from hacking into a bank account. However, it is still important to be aware of the potential for fraudsters to have access to your information.
You can prevent online fraud with a few easy steps. Passwords need to be hard to crack, and changed frequently. You also need to make sure you have two step verification on all your accounts and have your mobile number associated with accounts. Having your number associated with accounts is good so that you receive a text whenever anything suspicious happens to your account. A useful thing to have.
Sexting is becoming even more of a problem, especially with the rise of social media. It is essentially sending/receiving images that are risqué and revealing. It can easily happen, but that doesn’t mean it should. Once you hit ‘send,’ who knows where that image is going to go.
If you find yourself involved in sexting, you should never share the image. You also need to be aware that it is illegal if you are under 18, and you should never pressure anyone into doing it. You wouldn’t want your privacy violated, and you shouldn’t violate anybody else’s.
The Urban Dictionary defines a ‘catfish’ as: someone who pretends to be someone they’re not by using Facebook or other social media platforms to create false identities.
These people will create profiles that seem genuine to spark online relationships with unsuspecting victims – who have no idea the person behind the screen is completely different. The catfish may then use this ‘smokescreen’ for something more serious including identity fraud and grooming.
While catfishing itself is not illegal, meeting someone as a result of catfishing is. Some tell-tale signs that someone is not as they seem include asking for revealing photos, conflicting stories and extravagant promises.
The internet and in particular social media is increasingly used by extremists to raise funds, recruit new members and communicate their activities.
Vulnerable individuals can be exposed to this kind of content, which can be easily accessible online, and potentially start to believe the hateful nature that these ‘organisations’ promote.
It is important to be aware that there are groups out there, that will try to force their extremist views on to you and to avoid them. You can also report any illegal or harmful information, picture or videos you’ve found on the internet here: https://www.gov.uk/report-terrorism
If you are concerned
The Apprentice Academy has a dedicated Safeguarding team so if you wish to discuss any of the matters included in our blog post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bullying.co.uk – 0808 800 2222
National Bullying Helpline, email@example.com – 0845 22 55 787
NSPCC – Help for adults concerned about a child – 0808 800 5000
Help for children and young people Call Childline on 0800 1111
Action Fraud, http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/