Internet Safety

Age of Criminal Responsibility

From the age of ten you are expected to take responsibility for your actions, therefore you can be punished for what you do and anything against the law will be put into a criminal record. Some of the things that you can be punished for include harassment and cyberbullying.


Harassment

The Protection from Harassment act issued in 1997 states that it is against the law to discriminate against anyone in a forceful or direct way due to ethnicity, race or sexuality.


If anyone is found guilty of anything falling under this act, a restraining issue could be ordered. there is no strict guidelines to what falls under this act, but the harassment must cause some kind of distress.

Cyberbullying

Any bullying that uses technology as a means of communication, falls under the Malicious Communications Act of 1988. This means that anyone, from the age of ten and above, can be prosecuted if they are cyberbullying. No specific law makes cyberbullying alone illegal but it falls under this act. It can also fall under many other acts such as Computer Misuse and Obscene Publications. It can happen to anyone either online or by text. Cyberbullying is often used because bullies feel as if they are safe hiding behind anonymity on social media sites.


Sexting

Sexting is the sending or posting of indecent images either by text r on the Internet. This is not illegal unless you are under eighteen as even if it a picture/video of yourself, you can still be prosecuted under the Sexual Offences Act of 2003 for being in posession of an indecent image of a child. Even if you are over eighteen, sexting can still be dangerous as you may not be able to trust the people that you are sending things to as much as you think you can. Once you send out an image to the Internet, it is there forever and there is no way for you to know who has seen it or who has done anything with it. If one under eighteen year old sent an indecent image to another under eighteen years old, both of these people can be prosecuted as they are both in possession of an indecent image of a child.