Year 5 – Who’s Watching? reinforces the need to protect your identity
Habit of Mind Focus #13: Taking Responsible Risks
To be successful you need to be responsible and opportunistic. Taking risks is a significant method of learning, but irresponsible risks can backfire. When you are on the internet and exploring new territory, you need to exercise risk management by protecting your identity and personal information.
In order to practice password protection, you need to do two things:
1. Create an effective password
- mix eight or more letters, symbols and digits
- include capital letters
- don’t include personal information
- make it different from your username
- make it relatively easy to remember
2. Keep that password secure
- change the password every six months
- never share your password with your friends, classmates, siblings or strangers
- keep the password written somewhere safe where only you can locate it
- don’t forget where you kept it!
- make sure no one can see you adding your password details
If you are having trouble creating a secure password, why not use the ‘Strong Password Generator’? Go there now, input your options and create a new password.
Here are some helpful password suggestions.
Your digital footprint is the impression that someone gets when they search for your name or profile on the internet. Every time you go on the internet, you leave a trail. IP Addresses identify each and every computer in the world.
Whenever you go online your computer is given a special number to identify it. This number is called an Internet Protocol address (IP address). Without this special number the computer can not receive any information from websites or other computers.
Sometimes when people behave badly online a website and/or the police may use and IP address to identify the computer that has sent the information.
(Source: Kidsmart, http://www.kidsmart.org.uk/digitalfootprints/)
This video explains the concept of a digital footprint.
So, why do we need to watch what we put on the net? This video about Billy explains why …
Your computer leaves a trail, that much is certain. Companies use ‘cookies’ to keep track of your digital footprint. See how easy it is for experts to find out all about you.
Kidsmart has a list of top tips to protect your digital footprint.
(Source: KidSMART, http://www.kidsmart.org.uk/digitalfootprints/)
It is easy to believe everything you see on the internet, just because it is on the internet! But don’t forget, ANYONE can write ANYTHING on the internet. Always be on the lookout and always be safe. This video gives some good tips.
If you are using social networking or communicating in a game chatroom, you can’t say the other person is a friend unless you actually know them and are friends with them. Doesn’t that make sense? Don’t accept a friend request or communicate with someone online unless you are 100% sure that they are your actual friend in real life.
If you are not sure or feel uncomfortable in any online situation, ask for help from an adult immediately. Here are some great tips from Go Safe Online.
- Use a nick name or code name.It is best not to use your real name or to use names that might be suggestive or offensive to others in any way. This can help reduce the likelihood of you being harassed online.
- Set your profiles to private.Social networking sites can be a great tool for connecting with others. A good way to stay safe while using these services is to set your profile to private. This way, only people you invite can see what you post.
- Keep personal information to yourself.It is best not to share your address, phone number or other personal information online with strangers. Don’t reveal your actual location or when and where you plan to be somewhere.
- Think about what you post.Be cautious about sharing provocative photos or intimate details online, even with people you know or even in a private email or text conversation. The information or conversation could be copied and made public by anyone you share it with, and it’s tough to get removed. Remember: what you say in a chat room or instant messaging session is live. You cannot take it back or delete it later.
- Keep your security software up-to-date.Social networking sites are very popular. Because there are so many people using them, cyber criminals have been known to use stealthy tactics in order to infect the computers of people who use them. So, ensure that any computer that you use to access social networking sites is well-protected by a firewall and anti-virus system.
- Read between the ‘lines’.It may be fun to meet new people online for friendship or romance, but be aware that, while some people are nice, others act nice because they are trying to get something. Flattering or supportive messages may be more about manipulation than friendship or romance.
- Avoid in-person meetings.The only way someone can physically harm you is if you’re both in the same location, so – to be 100% safe – don’t meet them in person. If you really have to get together with someone you’ve ‘met’ online, don’t go alone. Have the meeting in a public place, tell a parent or some other solid backup, and bring some friends along.
- Be nice online.Treat people the way you’d want to be treated. Harassing or bullying anyone online, if considered threatening, can also be considered a criminal offense.
- Think about how you respond.If someone says or does something that makes you uncomfortable, block them and don’t respond. If they continue, let your parents or another adult know. If the messages are threatening in any way, save the messages and tell your parents, as this may be considered a criminal offense.
- Be smart when using a mobile phone.All the same tips apply with phones as with computers. Except phones are with you wherever you are, often away from home and your usual support systems. Be careful about who you give your number to and how you use GPS and other technologies that can pinpoint your physical location.
(Source: Go Safe Online, https://www.gosafeonline.sg/safety_tips_for_social_networking_teens)
The Easy Guide to Socialising Online is s great place to go to help you make choices about using Social Networking and playing online games. You can find the sites that are age appropriate for you, like Moshi Monsters, and those that you may wish to use when you are old enough, like Facebook and YouTube (you have to be 13 to have an account). Click on the image below to go to the Moshi Monster page and click on the icons for help.
Online friends are great, but do you really know who they are? CyberSmart has advice about these types of ‘friends’.
Be careful who you trust online. A person can pretend to be someone they are not.
Choose your friends. While it’s good to have a lot of friends, having too many makes it harder to keep an eye on who sees the stuff you post online. Don’t accept friend requests if you’re not sure about the person.
Keep your personal details private . Use a nickname instead of your real name if you are in a site or game where there may be lots of people you don’t know. Ask your parents before giving anyone on the internet your name, address, phone number or any other personal details.
Set your profile to private, or ask your parents to help you do this.
Always keep your password secret. Don’t even share it with your friends.
If you want to arrange to meet someone you’ve met online, check with a parent first and ask them to go with you. Always meet in a public place, preferably during the day.
- If someone writes something rude, scary or something you don’t like, tell your parents or another adult you trust.
(Source: CyberSmart, http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/Kids/Tips%20to%20stay%20safe%20and%20cybersmart/Online%20friends.aspx)
So, be super-careful when communicating online. You have to protect your information, and don’t be like Carrie.
As you use the internet more and more in a social setting, there is a higher chance that you will come into contact with a dodgy person. Just as there are dangers when hanging out in certain places in your neighbourhood or city, hanging out in certain places online carries a certain element of risk.
Online predators exist. They are becoming more prevalent and more sophisticated. They pretend to be someone your age and try to get you to meet them or divulge private information to them. They may even try to get you to send them images or videos of yourself.
There is a simple rule here: there is no easy way to tell if someone on the Internet could be a predator.
It is important to remember that people are often not who they say they are online. Although it is very difficult to know whether someone is an online predator, there’s one simple rule for making sure that friends on the Internet are NOT predators: do not talk to people online unless you’ve met them in person first. Even then, chat and e-mails should be monitored, and every parent should make an effort to know their child’s friends, and their parents. Just because you know your child is talking to someone from school doesn’t mean that the conversation cannot be inappropriate.
(Source: Safe Surfing Kids, http://www.safesurfingkids.com/predators.htm)
Predators contact you and build a rapport and connection, making you believe that they are someone else. They try to turn you against your family, and soon become your best friend. Then they try to take advantage of you in some way.
This extract from the ‘Who’s chatting to your Kids‘ brochure explains what you need to know and do:
Never meet face to face with anyone I have ‘only’ talked with on the internet without my parent/guardian’s permission.
- I understand that sometimes people tell lies on the internet and may pretend to be someone they are not
- I understand that people may approach me on the internet with the intention of taking advantage of me
- I understand that I am placing myself in danger by meeting someone I have only met on the internet
(Source: Who's chatting to your kids?, http://www.police.qld.gov.au/Resources/Internet/programs/cscp/personalSafety/documents/Internet%20Agreement.pdf)
Online predators are everywhere. Watch this video to see three different online places that you could encounter strange people.
Parents, there are a number of things you can do to help keep your children safe. This list from the Vodafone Parents Guide is s good starting point.
- Discuss the potential risk of online grooming with your son or daughter. Don’t wait for something to happen – talk to them now and on a regular basis
- Remind your child that the internet is a public place and that not everyone online is who they say they are
- Set up Parental Controls and Safe Search based on their age and maturity – but remember that they might not be 100% effective and aren’t a substitute for parental supervision
- Explain to them that they should never give out their personal details (eg name, address and school) or share personal information (including photos and videos) with strangers on the internet or via their mobile
- Encourage your child to set their online profiles (eg on social networking websites) to “private” so that only friends and family can see them
- Set rules for the use of webcams, digital cameras and camera phones
- Don’t forget that your child could be vulnerable to online grooming in a number of places – multi-player gaming websites, chat rooms and social networking websites are all public spaces, for example
- Encourage your son or daughter to talk to you about anything that makes them feel uncomfortable online or on their mobile, such as a stranger making contact, and to save emails, texts and other evidence
- Look for any unusual signs, such as your child hiding their emails or texts or unknown adults contacting them or sending gifts, or a dramatic change in their behaviour
- If you think your child – or another child – could be in immediate danger, report it to the local police
(Source: Vodafone Parents Guide, http://parents.vodafone.com/grooming)
Students, there are some hard and fast ways of being safe and reporting any dodgy dealings online.
- ALWAYS TELL A TRUSTED ADULT straight away if you are upset or worried about something that has happened online.
- Remember to SAVE ANY MESSAGES that have upset you so you can show them to who you tell – they will be able to help, and they will be able to give you good advice about what else you can do. Never worry about getting in trouble – you aren’t the one who has done anything wrong.
- If you don’t want to talk to a trusted adult, you may want to chat to someone else about how you feel. Call Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) to talk to a trained adult. Your conversation is private and confidential. Even better, install the CyberSafety Help Button on your desktop.
(Source: Think U Know, http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/8_10/report/)
Here are some other places you can go for help:
Cybersafety advice and resources
The ACMA’s Cybersafety Contact Centre provides practical information and helpful advice about cybersafety matters. The Centre also assists with processing orders for the ACMA’s range of cybersafety resources designed for teachers, parents, children and library staff. These resources are provided free of charge in Australia.
Cybersafety Contact Centre
Tel: 1800 880 176
Cybersmart Online Helpline for kids and teens
Click on the Kids Helpline button at the top right of this page to talk to a counselor about anything happening online that worries you, like CyberBullying, seeing unpleasant or offensive content, or keeping a balance between your online and offline life. Learn more about the Kids Helpline service and take a look at how Kids Helpline has helped other children and teensdeal with their online problems. Check the Kids Helpline website for the specific times when web counselling is available. If you want to talk to someone straight away, call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.
Report offensive content to the ACMA
If you see content which is offensive or illegal you can make a report to the ACMA.
Report suspicious online behaviour to the Australian Federal Police
If you are concerned about online behaviour that involves sexual exploitation of a child you can report it to the Australian Federal Police (AFP). The AFP works with State and Territory police and international law enforcement agencies to investigate online child sex exploitation using telecommunications services, such as internet or mobile phones. Learn more about reporting suspicious online behaviour.
If you know about a child who is in immediate danger or risk call Triple Zero (000) or contact your local police.
The Global Resource and Information Directory (GRID) is a free online portal that monitors, tracks and provides commentary on the online safety policies and best practices of countries around the world. GRID includes the Family Online Safety Directory which is a comprehensive overview of Cybersafety issues, challenges and risks facing children online.
(Source: CyberSmart, http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/report.aspx)