Tips on how to stay safe online during the COVID-19 pandemic

Sharing photos and my personal information online

Girl with mobile phone, aware that her personal information is like the key to her house.

 

Why do I need to be careful?

Once you share something online it is very difficult to take it back.

So it is important to stop and think first.

Are you about to share some information that you should keep private, or a photo or video that may hurt someone's feelings?

Keeping my personal information private

Personal information is as precious as the keys to your house. 

Giving these keys to the wrong people, even by accident, can be like allowing a stranger into your house without you even knowing.

If someone has lots of personal information about you, they could pretend to be you, find out where you live, or even use your personal information to buy things. 

Your personal information may include your:

  • full name
  • address
  • phone numbers
  • which school you go to
  • date of birth
  • email address
  • usernames and passwords for online accounts or email accounts
  • parent or carer’s bank or credit card details 
  • photos that show where you live or your school uniform.

 

How can I protect my personal information?

  • Avoid using your full name online — choose a screen name that does not include your real first or last name or use a nickname instead. 
  • Don’t lie about your age — lots of social media apps have a minimum age rating of 13. This is because some of the content may not be safe for kids. 
  • Only friend or follow people you know — if you receive a friend request from someone you don’t know it is best to delete their request.
  • Keep your email and phone number private — your email address might contain your name and you don’t want to get unwanted texts, calls or emails. 
  • Don’t fill in all the fields on forms — if you sign up for something online, like a competition or quiz, only fill out the fields that are marked with an asterisk (this symbol *).

Tips for sharing photos and videos


  1. Ask before sharing — if you take a photo or video with someone else in it, ask if it’s OK to share.

    If they say no, then respect their decision.


  2. Think carefully before you share an image or video — once you share something online it is very difficult to take it back.

    It could be shared or copied by someone else. 


  3. Don’t share anything you wouldn’t want people to see in 5 years — that video of you singing or dancing like crazy is cool now, but will it be cool in 5 years?


  4. Check what you are sharing — check if a photo or video has anything in it that could show where you live or the school you go to. Does it show the front of your house or street? Are you in your school uniform?


  5. Take it down — if you have shared a photo or video and the person asked you to take it down, do it!


  6. Don’t share or forward something embarrassing — if someone sends you a photo or video that you know would be embarrassing for the person in it, don’t forward it on or share it with other kids.