Advice for young people

Most people think of illegal downloads or online identity theft when they hear about cybercrime but there's much more to it than just those. Cybercrime and bullying can include many other crimes that you may not associate with crime and that are much more serious than you might think.

Sexting is when people send inappropriate text messages to other people - this includes photo messages. By sending indecent pictures (this means naked/semi naked or provocative poses) of a person under 18 on to someone else you could be breaking the law.

If you were to have an indecent image of another young person, you would technically be in possession of an indecent image of a child, which is a criminal offence.

Cyber bullying is the electronic version of bullying. Instead of calling someone names to their face, it's done on sites like Facebook or by sending them threatening texts.

Facebook has created a really useful guide that you can use to help you use their site safely which is available here what can I do to prevent or address cyber bullying?

Being bullied can make you feel unhappy, lonely, isolated or afraid to tell someone what's happening. There are a lot of different ways to cope with bullying, an important first step is to tell someone what's happening.

Remember that bullying is never okay and you have a right to get help to put a stop to it. Always report any bullying, whether it is happening online or face-to-face. You can report bullying through social networking sites using their report buttons and safety centres, or if you are being bullied at school, or other places you visit, you can talk to a teacher or trusted adult.

There are a few 'don'ts' to remember when dealing with bullying:

  • Don't retaliate or sink to the level of the bullies
  • Don't believe the things they are telling you, they are not your friends and do not have your best interests at heart
  • Don't take your feelings out on others even if the bullying is making you feel unhappy or frustrated
  • Don't be a bystander: if you see bullying, cyberbullying or abuse going on, report it

Social networking sites can be really fun if used safely. All the big social networking sites have a safety centre where you can find out everything you need to know about enjoying that website safely. They will also have privacy settings - so you can decide who sees what. Think carefully before using websites that don't have a safety centre or privacy settings. Are they really safe to use?

Make sure anything you post is private, so that only people you know can view what you have shared. Think carefully before you post anything and make sure you're happy for anyone to see it.

Check the privacy settings on your accounts, and make sure you know how to keep your personal information private. Never give out very personal information like your address or mobile number to people you meet online.

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