The internet is used for many different things. You can use it to keep in touch with friends and family. You can use it for banking or contacting government agencies. You can search for answers to questions in schoolwork, watch films, listen to music, play games and much more.
There are a few things you need to keep in mind when you use the internet. The internet is a fantastic resource where you can have lots of fun. But if you don't think twice in some situations you can also get into trouble, or anger or upset other people by mistake. Below are some tips for what to think about when you use the internet.
Be netsmart! 10 tips for how you should act on the internet
Think before you upload a text, images or comments to the internet. What you upload to the internet can spread very quickly. It can remain there "for ever". Who do you want to see what you're uploading? Often you can choose who can see what by using various functionalities of the website.
Before uploading something, think about this: Would I want everybody in the class to know this? Would I want everybody at school to see this picture? If the answer is no, you shouldn't upload it to the internet.
When you comment on what other people have uploaded, or upload your own photos, the comments or photos may be spread very widely even though that's not what you wanted. Things that are funny under normal circumstances can turn out badly and are often misinterpreted on the internet.
What you do influences others. Things that aren't allowed in real life aren't allowed on the internet either, e.g. bullying and slander.
Before you comment or upload something to the internet, think about this: Would I say this directly, face to face, to the person?
If you're meeting internet friends for the first time, you need to be a bit clever. It could be someone trying to trick you. Ask how old a person is and check their answer with other questions.
You should never be on your own if you're meeting someone you've never met before. Take someone you know along. Agree on a time and place where there are lots of other people around. Tell friends or an adult that you're meeting someone and where.
Never meet with a person if you don't know who they are.
What are you actually going to share with others? Think about when and why you give out personal information about yourself. Think twice before giving out your personal identity number, sensitive images or information about yourself or others, especially if you don't want everyone to know about it.
Never give out your login or password information.
Who made the website you're visiting? Why was it made? Behind every website or post is someone who wants something. Is it to inform, advertise, make money, or influence others to adopt an opinion?
A lot of what you read about and watch on the internet isn't true. The information can be distorted or incorrect. It is extremely important to evaluate your sources when you're reading on the internet. Study a text carefully and critically, and check it before you quote/copy it.
When reading something on the internet, think about this: Who wrote the text and why?
Always state the source if you want to quote someone else's text or use an image or photo from the internet. Make sure you stick to the rules. If you find it difficult to determine what you can use freely and what is someone else's text or image, it might be a good idea to ask your teacher or some other adult.
If you want to upload your own photos that include other people as well as yourself, it's a good idea to ask them before you upload. If it's someone else's photo, you have to ask their permission first since they own the photo, and not everyone wants their photos on the internet.
Before uploading a photo, think about this: Would I want someone to upload the photo if I was in it?
People under 18 years of age are not always allowed to buy things on the internet by themselves. This means an adult has to approve your payment, but there are exceptions.
Sometimes there are hidden fees and costs. This can make it hard to determine what things cost on websites or in games. To reduce the risk of being deceived, ask someone who knows how it works before you buy or sell something on the internet.
If you don't think it feels right, just break off contact. You have the right to say no and to stop things. You decide what's OK for you. You can always ask someone you trust if you feel unsure. Turn to an adult for help if things seem unpleasant or strange.
Protection against harassment online
Hatred and threats can be illegal. The same laws apply online as in real life. It is up to the police and prosecutors to determine if a crime has been committed.