Online safety

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

But it comes with dangers. The 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal left many feeling unsafe on Facebook. There are fears that social media is damaging to mental health. Fake news may be threatening democracy itself.

Tuesday 11 February 11 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.

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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Around 57% of the world’s population is now online. So, what would the internet be like as a country? This interesting animated video offers an unusual perspective. If the internet were a country, would you want to live there?


  1. Create a poster which offers advice on how to stay safe online to young people.
  2. Your class has been put in charge of writing an online “bill of rights”, which explains the rights that internet users should expect to enjoy. (For example, “Everyone has the right to online news that they can trust.”) Take it in turns to suggest rights, and write them down on a whiteboard or a large poster.
  3. Write your own news report on a story that involves the internet. Will you focus on a positive or negative story?