Staying safe online (Blog)

Tuesday 9 February is Safer Internet Day! The global theme is ‘together for a better internet’ and this year the theme in the UK is ‘An internet we trust – exploring reliability in the online world’. Safer Internet Day inspires a national conversation about using technology responsibly, respectfully, critically, and creatively. Take a look at our tips and advice on how to stay safe and positive online below:

1. Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know

The key word in Facebook friends is ‘friends!’ Only accept requests from people you actually know in real life. Besides, do you really want to see the statuses and holiday snaps of some random person that you have no connection to whatsoever? The sender doesn’t receive a notification that you’ve ignored their request so don’t be afraid to click that ‘decline’ button.

2. Manage your privacy settings

Do you know exactly who has access to your social media posts? The three main settings on Facebook include ‘Only you’, ‘Friends’ or ‘Public’ so check to see which one you are currently set at. Take a look at Facebook's Privacy Settings to find out more about changing your privacy settings on Facebook. On Instagram and Twitter, there is also the option to make your whole profile private to others who don’t follow you.

3. Don’t open links from unknown websites

Don’t open any suspicious links on spam emails. No matter what competition they are claiming you’ve won or what money you’re apparently entitled to, it’s most likely fake if it’s from an email address you don’t recognise. Be cautious when downloading films or tv shows online, the website could be riddled with unwanted pop-ups that could affect your device.

4. Keeping your passwords safe

Make sure to regulary change your passwords. Create the strongest password you can think of by using capital letters, numbers and special characters and try not to use the same password across multiple websites. A secure password makes it harder for people to gain access to your account, but remember, your passwords are personal to you; keep them that way!

5. Think carefully about what you post online

Remember that anything you upload, email, message or share, could stay online forever. Make sure you’re only posting things that you definitely don’t mind others including your parents, lecturers, the whole college or a future employer seeing and never share or put online any of your personal details like phone number, date of birth, address or the college you attend.

6. Stay safe on the move

Make sure safety and privacy settings are activated on your mobile devices and only share private information with people or organisations you know and trust. Keep apps up-to-date and delete apps you no longer use and make sure to check permissions on apps before installing them.

7. Be kind to others

Kindness is key! Respect other people by not posting photos of them that they don’t want online. Most of all, don’t post any nasty or rude comments about anyone else. If you or someone you know is experiencing this, tell someone as soon as possible. Student Services at Callywith will always be there to support you by emailing or calling 01208 224460.

College students' tips for staying safe online

Callywith students share some fantastic tips for children and young people on protecting themselves online with BBC News:

For more information and advice on staying safe online visit and take a look at the documents below:

Download Online Safety advice for Parents / Carers

Download Online Safety Advice for Students