Using the internet has become a really fun way of keeping in touch with friends and family.
There are loads of ways of doing this, including IM, chat rooms and through gaming and blogs.
Some people have met their best friends by chatting online and some people have even got married after meeting in online chat rooms! But there are also some nasty people who use the internet to meet people, so you need to make sure that you keep yourself safe while still having fun.
When you’re chatting to people online, TRY NOT TO GIVE OUT ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION about yourself. This includes your full name, address or school. It’s ok to tell someone what city you live in though as long as you don’t include anything else. Even giving a street name can be enough to allow someone to find you. If anyone ever asks you for this information, tell a trusted adult straight away.
Some people who you meet online may not be who they say they are. It’s easy for people to lie when they’re chatting over the internet, so DON’T ARRANGE TO MEET UP WITH SOMEONE who you have met online. If anyone asks to meet up with you, tell a trusted adult. It is not a good idea, but if you do decide to meet up then make sure you take a trusted adult with you and meet in a public place.
Some chat rooms / forums are moderated and this means that an adult is watching what is being said to make sure no one is being nasty.
They can delete messages and also ban people from leaving messages if they are upsetting.