Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Be Safe not Sorry. Being safe online.

Hey there.

Every year, more and more children are getting mobiles, reaping it's benefits.
Every year, the average age of these children is getting younger and younger.
Every year, more and more children are falling foul to the dangers that besiege mobiles and the Internet.
Radio 1 are currently doing a share, take care campaign so I thought I too would help enforce the importance of staying safe online.
You may think I'm being repetitive and a hypocrite but I know some of the potential dangers of not being safe on-line or via mobile. I know how I feel when I do something I know isn't appropriate. I know how other people have felt as a result of not staying safe online. In one word, terrible.
Did you know:

  • 33% of teens have been cyberbullied. Most haven’t told a parent
  • 69% of teens admit to regularly talking to strangers online
  • 20% of teens admit to sending or posting inappropriate photos
Unfortunately, I'm no innocent and I'm definitely part of the 69% who have regularly talked to strangers online. So I know what I'm talking about when I say, it really isn't good or "healthy". When I first started doing it, it seemed exciting, dangerous but now I'm 17, I've figured that there are more risks then rewards. How can you prove someone is who they say they are?
With the Internet expanding rapidly daily, there is less protection offered now to young people. Therefore, it is our responsibility t
o ensure that everything we post,like share,say..isn't accessed by strangers, without permission. 
I know what you're thinking, WHAT ABOUT TWITTER?!?! Yes, Twitter is a social media site where talking to strangers is the whole idea. Fine. But don't divulge personal information. I'm not going to lie, it's easier said than done but just think about who might see your tweets. You could put a tweet saying "Home alone tonight..YES!", no personal information included, true. But who on your followers knows where you live and could feasibly get to your house? Hmm? 
Slightly dramatic I know. Yet it can still happen I'm afraid. Now, before you moan at me saying that I'm a hypocrite, I do have twitter. I follow strangers, friends and people who I know by name/reputation and I have seen tweets like this myself and probably posted a couple too. Yet, I'm aware of the dangers and problems I could face if I open my big mouth too much.
Talking of opening big mouths too much, cyber bullying. The one thing about technology I hate.
Remember that time when you were about 11, on the school playground, getting bullied because your school jumper didn't fit any more, you had answered all the teachers correctly in maths or you didn't seem to wear the right clothes compared to the rest of your class? Thought it was bad then, it's 20 times worse now. With cyberbullying, this childish taunting doesn't end when the bell strikes 3, it doesn't stop by moving classes, its relentless. Texting constantly, messaging constantly, posting constantly. 
Nobody deserves to be subjected to such horror. People see harsh comments as banter and funny, so they share it. Before you know it, that comment has spread worldwide, people you don't even know are making remarks about you. This can get you down, I mean really down. Suicidal in fact. Why would you want to spend any longer in a place where you feel worthless? Everybody hates you? You wouldn't.
Yet if we take responsibility for our actions, we can help lower the amount of suicides and deaths caused as a result of bullying alone. We can help stop the spread of negativity.
If you see a post which seems quite harsh, think before you share it. Think how the person it's written about feels. Bullying only continues if it receives a reaction or an audience. 

When online, attempt to stay safe. I know that nobody is perfect and occasionally we do slip up but as long as you stay mindful about the dangers associated with social media and the Internet, then the cowards, the perverts, the opportunists can't get to you. 
Share, Take Care.

I also provide the link to the Radio 1 website where even more information can be found: