Online safety

The internet is arguably the most important invention of the modern age. It has opened up a world of exciting possibilities to learn, create and connect with people around the world.

But it comes with dangers. Last year’s Cambridge Analytica scandal left many feeling unsafe on Facebook. One in four children have experienced something upsetting on social media. Fake news may be threatening democracy itself.

Tuesday is Safer Internet Day, which was created to promote safe and positive use of digital technology. Here are some quick tips for staying safe online:

1/ Update your privacy settings on social media. There are more details on how to do this in our briefing from last year.

2/ Make sure you have strong passwords, and do not use the same password for more than one account.

3/ Keep your software updated — often companies release updates in order to fix security holes which they have found in their old systems.

4/ Remember that photos and messages can stay online forever — even if you think they have been deleted. Only post things that you are happy for others to see.

5/ Think critically about what you see online; not everything is true, and not everyone is who they say they are.

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Do our phones make us forget what really matters? A short video which explores the impact of smartphones.


  1. As a class, discuss the biggest dangers facing young people online.
  2. Split into groups. Each is responsible for researching one of the dangers discussed in the activity above. Produce a video, poster or leaflet which explains more about the issue, and how young people can protect themselves.
  3. Class debate: This house believes that social media should be banned for under-18s.