Staying Safe Online

Know your rights and responsibilities!

Age of criminal responsibility

Did you know that the age of criminal responsibility is 10? This means that if you commit a crime, and you're under the age of 10, you aren't held responsible (but you'll still get told off or punished in some way!). This also means that if you are over 10, you are held directly responsible and can actually go to court and also go to prison...

Cyberbullying

This is a form of, you guessed it, bullying, but not face to face threats in the playground. No, this is on mobile phones, computers, etc and by texting, emailing, over Facebook and other social networking sites, and it makes the victim feel incredibly bad and sad. The problem with cyber-bullying is that often, the victim can't just get away from it all. They're not even safe at home, because they, as anyone would, keep their phone with them most of the time. Also, some victims have admitted that when they were cyber-bullied, they felt they had to keep opening their texts and checking their Facebook notifications, just to see what the bullies were going to say the next day at their school.

Don't worry, if you keep the messages (don't delete them), then the police can use them as evidence and the bully (or bullies) can be prosecuted under the Malicious Communications Act (1988). SO IT'S ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA TO KEEP ANY HURTFUL MESSAGES, NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO DELETE THEM!!!

Sexting

This is usually the point at which everyone starts giggling behind their hands, thinking Ha ha s/he said 'sex'! Tee hee! However, it is a silly eg. stupid thing to do and is actually a serious matter. Basically, sexting is when someone takes a revealing picture of themselves and sends it to someone else. It doesn't matter how close these two people are, it doesn't matter whether they are boyfriend and girlfriend, but if they are under 18, it is illegal. Technically, the person who took the picture is in possession of an indecent image of a child, and if they sent to someone else, they are just making matters worse for themselves. They can be prosecuted under the Sexual Offences Act (2003).

This is a stupid thing to do, as even if you trust your girl/boyfriend who you are sending the photos to, if you two break up, then s/he may do something entirely regrettable in a split second: they might forward the photo of you to other people, and then you completely lose control of that image, so it could end up anywhere. Just imagine, you've just had an interview with a company of some sort, and one of the first things they will do is search you. How embarrassing would it be for them to see indecent images of you, and to refuse you on the spot? Very. It would make it much harder to get a job, as each and every company will search your name on the internet and see these photos of you. Uh oh, good luck in your later life!

If you get worried, harassed or cyber-bullied, go to CEOP; they will help you