Staying safe online

Many of us use the internet as part of our daily lives, for banking, shopping, socialising and entertainment. Make sure you know how to protect your personal data and keep yourself, your friends and your family safe whilst online.

Protecting your computer 

  • You should ensure that your Wi-Fi connection is secure and accessible with a password so others cannot access your internet connection.
  • Make sure that your computer has anti-virus and firewall software installed and it is kept up to date.
  • Do not reply to spam emails or those from an untrusted source. You should also not download attachments or click web links within spam emails as they could contain viruses.

Online Safety Advice

  • You should change your account passwords regularly and should never share them with others. Your password should be strong by using a mixture of letters, numbers and punctuation. Your passwords should also be different for each account.
  • Ensure that you never share your personal data such as bank account or address details with anybody you don’t know online.
  • You should remember people that you meet online, might not be who they claim to be. You shouldn’t arrange to meet people that you don’t know. If you do agree to meet someone you’ve made contact with online, make sure you tell someone when and where you are going, and take someone with you if possible.
  • Before posting comments and photos of yourself, friends and family online, you should think carefully about whether you want others to see these.
  • Check your privacy and security settings on your social media accounts. They are there to help you control who sees what you post and manage your online experience in a positive way.
  • Once posted, always posted: Protect your reputation on social media. Recent research found that 70%of job recruiters rejected candidates based on information they found online.
  • Keep personal information personal: Be cautious about how much personal information you provide on social networking sites. The more information you post, the easier it may be for a hacker or someone else to use that information to steal your identity, access your data or commit other crimes such as stalking.
  • Consider who you are friends with online.
  • Disable location settings. This can prevent location details being included on photos. Don't display you address, telephone number or email address - if you have one, use privacy settings to remove these from public view.
  • Monitor your photos and 'tagging'. Ensure your privacy settings are set so that only your friends can see your photos and ones you're tagged in. If you don't want to be tagged in photos, you can remove your 'tag'. You can also set your account to approve tagged photos before they appear in your newsfeed.

Shopping Online

  • When shopping online, make sure you check that the companies are genuine. If you are not sure, make contact with them to confirm before purchasing, or purchase from an alternative online retailer.
  • When making online purchases make sure the connection is secure by looking for the padlock icon at the top or bottom of the Internet browser. Secure web addresses should also begin with ‘https’.
  • Purchase online using a secure payment method such as Paypal, or credit and debit cards.

Advice for parents and guardians

It is important to make sure that you know how to use your computer and how to look up which websites your child is accessing. Make sure you are able to restrict or block websites and material if necessary to protect your child.

There is also a wide variety of information online to help parents improve their skills to keep their children safe online.

Thinkuknow - Advice for children, parents and carers and teachers and trainers on staying safe online.

How to report a problem online

  • If you or your child sees inappropriate content on a website or social networking site, make sure you report it directly to where the content appears online.
  • If the content relates to a crime committed in the UK, report it to the Police on 101. In the case of an emergency always dial 999.
  • Contact your Internet Service Provider. 

Online safety advice from Nottinghamshire Police

The Pre Crime Unit (crime reduction) at Nottinghamshire Police has put together a guide to help you protect your personal data and keep you and your family safe online.

The guide includes information on

  • Protecting your computer
  • Protecting yourself online
  • Protecting yourself on social media
  • Shopping online
  • Spotting scams and Phishing emails
  • Advice for parents and guardians

Have a read of the guide to help protect yourself online.

Keeping children safe online

Children love using technology and are learning to navigate websites, online games, and consoles and touchscreen technology such as ipads and smartphones from a younger age. Latest Ofcom research shows that 91% of 5-15 year olds live in a home with internet access and over a third of 3-4 year olds are accessing internet in their homes.

Here are some frequently asked questions about keeping your children safe online:

Where do I start?

The best way to get to grips with how your children use the internet is to use the internet together. Active engagement and conversations with your children about using the internet are key. Be positive and embrace the technologies young people enjoy.

Should I set rules?

In the same way that you set rules for most areas of your child's lives, establish your expectations regarding online activities. Creating a family agreement could be a good step, including the amount of time kids can spend online.

Are there tools to help?

There are many free parental controls and filter available to set safe boundaries for your children, but you will usually have to set them up. For information and advice including video tutorials on setting up parental controls visit the Safer Internet website.

What advice should I give my child?

Education is the best tool any child can have, discuss the importance of telling an adult immediately if something upsets them online. Encourage them to feel confident to come and tell you if they have any issue about the internet, knowing they will not be in trouble.

For more information how to keep your child safe online visit Child Net.

Childline have launched an app to protect children from 'sexting'

Young people are frequently taking huge risks making and sending sexual images of themselves, also known as 'sexting'.

ChildLine and the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) are joining forces to ensure young people of 17 years and under know where to turn to get sexually explicit images removed online.

In a ChildLine survey of 13-18 year olds:

  • 60 per cent said they had been asked for a sexual image or video of themselves
  • 40 per cent said they had created an image or video of themselves
  • 25 per cent said they had sent an image or video of themselves to someone else

More than half the young people surveyed by ChildLine said they had received a sexual photo or video, most received them from a partner but a third received them from a stranger.
Whilst most said the image went to a boyfriend or girlfriend, a third said they had sent it to someone they met online but didn't know in real life and 15 per cent said they had sent it to a total stranger.


This app offers witty images to send instead of explicit ones, advice for how to engage in safe chat, what to do if you feel threatened or if an image becomes public and a direct link to call ChildLine.

The app was developed in collaboration with young people from the NSPCC, Young Stonewall and Livity and is aimed at people aged 14 years and above. The app will be available from late October 2014

Digital Parenting Magazine

Keeping children safe on-line

Our Community Safety Team has just taken delivery of a magazine called Digital Parenting and it’s really good.

This is a FREE magazine which provides a colourful guide to keeping kids safe on-line. It is free to order by schools and community organisations (minimum 50 copies) or parents can view the guide on-line using the Parentzone website.

Social Media Safety

Do you or your children use Social Networking sites and apps?
The UK Safer Internet Centre has published easy to use checklists for various social media apps covering everything you need to know in order to manage your information and stay safe online while using these services.
These handy guides include advice on how to manage your privacy and control what and who you share information with, how to block and report, as well as how delete or deactivate an account. 

Smartphone Shopping

More and more people are using mobile devices, especially smartphones to make purchases. Data is usually stored in the phone’s memory and may be accessed if the device is ‘hacked’ or stolen.

Some top tips:

  • Do not save passwords or personal/financial data onto your mobile device unless it is absolutely necessary and make sure you use a password to protect your phone.
  • If stolen, most mobile devices have the software to wipe all data from their memory remotely – learn how this works. 
  • Do not leave your Bluetooth on as cyber-criminals can hack into your device unnoticed.
  • Also install anti-virus software and check the security features

 For more information on fraud and prevention, visit Action Fraud

You may wish to view Nottinghamshire Police's guide on Mobile Phones

Cyber shopping safety

In Nottinghamshire fraudsters are estimated to have stolen £3,281,258 from members of the public between April to September 2014. While this includes credit card fraud, application fraud and doorstep scams it also takes into account fraud committed online - through hacking and internet shopping sites.

According to the figures 22% of cyber crime victims were women, 43% were men and 35% preferred not to say. The age group most affected was those between 60 and 69 years old.

Make sure you check the following when purchasing online:

  • Check the company you're wishing to purchase from is genuine. If you're not sure, contact them to confirm before purchasing, or purchase from an alternative online retailer
  • When making online purchases make sure the connection is secure by looking for the padlock icon at the top or bottom of the internet browser. Secure web addresses should also begin with 'https' ‌
  • Purchasing online with a credit card could provide you with more payment protection than using a debit card. Check with your bank or use other secure payment methods such as PayPal. 
  • Always check your credit card and bank statements to make sure the correct amount has been debited and there are no other suspicious transactions, which could indicate you may have been defrauded. Ensure you shred bank statements and receipts using a cross-cut shredder
  • Don't provide personal details via email. Your bank will never ask for passwords or security codes online via email.

You can get more advice and report suspected fraud to Action Fraud UK online or by calling 0300 123 2040

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