Searching, tweeting, emailing, texting, and lots of other things online are great fun and helpful. However, there is potential for some situations to become dangerous or illegal. Ignoring these situations usually make them worse. CyberSmart, a website from Australia, recently published a wonderful series of articles about protecting yourself and others on the internet. The second in this series is called Unwanted Contact.
If you missed last week’s post about Cyberbullying, click here. Also, check back next week to learn more about “dealing with offensive or illegal content online.”
Sometimes you can meet someone or see something online that is unpleasant or makes you feel uncomfortable. This could be communication from someone you met online who starts asking personal questions or sends you photos or material that are upsetting or that you don’t like. It can sometimes be from someone you know.
What should you do?
- Tell someone. Tell your mum, dad, an older brother or sister, or another adult you trust.
- Don’t respond to messages and leave the site or chat session immediately.
- Block the contact using your ‘ignore’ list or with filtering software.
- Keep the evidence. This can be useful in tracking the person posting unsuitable material or asking you questions.
- Report it. Ask your parents to contact your ISP and/or phone provider or the website administrator, as there are actions they can take to help. You can also report it to the police if there is a threat to your safety.
- Set your profile to ‘private’ so your personal details are kept secret and it’s harder for people you don’t know to contact you.
- Don’t open messages from people you don’t know. They could be nasty, contain viruses or be trying to sell you something.