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Online Child Exploitation

Disclaimer:

The below details are correct at time of publishing, and are provided as guidance only. Seek legal advice from your solicitor where necessary.

Online Child Exploitation

Yes. If you find material that you think might be illegal, or if you’re having experiences on the internet that don’t seem right, then you should do the following: REPORT IT!

If you come across material that you think may be illegal, then you should report it to www.hotline.ie. Note that this is an anonymous service and you do not have to give your name or any personal information.

 

Illegal material involves child pornography, child trafficking or child grooming, or any racist or xenophobic material i.e. anything designed to incite hatred or discrimination.

It does not matter.  Report it to the Hotline and it will be assessed.

The Hotline only deals with reports about content on the Internet. This service must not be used to report crime or suspected criminal activities taking place in the “real world”. Any such reports should be made directly to An Garda Síochána, either at your local Garda station or by using the free Garda Confidential telephone 1800 666 111.

Reporting to the Hotline is not a substitute for notifying An Garda Síochána. Urgent situations where persons may be in immediate danger should always be reported to An Garda Síochána directly.

If you have a bad experience on the Internet, or if you feel uncomfortable with any situation don’t be afraid to tell someone. Talk to parents, friends or a trusted adult. You can also contact the following helplines:

The Samaritans (www.samaritans.org) - Lo Call 1850 60 90 90

ISPCC (www.ispcc.ie) - (01) 6767960

Childline (www.childline.ie) - Freefone 1800 66 66 66

Barnardos (www.barnardos.ie) - (01) 453 0355/Lo Call: 1850 222 300

If you're being bullied the first thing you should do is tell an adult or someone you trust. Secondly, don't respond in any shape or form to the bullying. Finally, save the evidence in order to help authorities like the Gardaí protect you.  

"End Cyberbullying Online Guide"

Instant Messaging

IM is great for chatting to your friends, its quick, you can set up contact lists so can see when your friends are on line at the same time as you and you can talk to more than one of them at the same time. Be careful……

  • People aren’t always what they seem, make sure that the people on your contact list are people that you know in the real world;
  • If people add you to their contact list and you don’t know them use your blocking function to stop them from seeing you on line and then they won’t be able to contact you.
  • If you have a profile on IM, don’t put too much personal information like your contact details, addresses or where you go to school. Use a cartoon character or symbol instead of a photo.

 

Chat Rooms

Chat rooms can be a good way to stay in touch or to meet new people. Often these chat rooms can be set up based around particular topics or themes that you might have a particular interest in. Be careful…… 

  • Remember the anonymous nature of the internet makes it easy for people to pretend to be something that they are not.
  • Always be careful about the kind of information that you give out in chat rooms.
  • Report instances where you feel something is suspicious or not quite right. Tell an adult or someone you trust. Try and keep copies of any material that you think might help.
  • Never arrange to meet up with people you don’t know, that you have met in a chat room, without an adult or guardian present.

 

Social Networking Sites

Social Networking Sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter amongst others allow you to create your own profiles, linking to your friends’ profiles, creating blogs and commenting on other peoples profiles and sharing photos. Be careful……

  • Of giving out too much personal information. Remember that the information that you put on your profile can be seen by everybody. Once you place the information /photos on the Internet it can be seen and copied/used by others, i.e. you lose control over it, people may attempt to use it ways that you never intended. Use your privacy settings to protect yourself and limit what people other than your friends can see and do with your information.
  • Of Cyber bullying. Be aware that people may use these sites to carry out bullying and harassment. They may attempt to use material from your profile in malicious ways, post nasty comments etc. Remember it is relatively easy to trace online bullies. Keep the evidence and bring it to the attention of someone you trust.
  • Remember people aren’t always what they seem, you cannot assume that the information supplied by other users on their profiles is authentic. Be careful of accepting people into your chat areas. Think about the material you are going to share with these people. Is it the kind of stuff that you want everyone, including complete strangers?

 

Blog

Blogging is an easy way for you to share your thoughts and opinions on a whole wide range of things. But it’s important to remember that because blogs are on the internet, anyone maybe able to look at it. It’s important to remember this so you think long and hard about what kind of information you really want to put out there for people to see. Be careful…… 

  • Try to limit the amount of personal information that you give out. People aren’t always what they seem and such individuals may use information gleaned from your blogs to befriend you for their own reasons which may place you in danger.
  • Be aware of what you say. While it is all well and good to have opinions on certain matters, it is important to aware of the impact of what you say may have on other. Posting inappropriate comments/pictures on blogs can be a particularly insidious form of cyber bullying. Always think before you type!

 

Online Gaming

Online Gaming can be a good way to interact and befriend new people while playing with or against them. Many people enjoy the challenge or competing with others or sharing their knowledge an experience to improve their skills and learn ways to beat the system. Be careful……

  • Don’t give out any personal information. Remember when gaming online other players don’t need to know your real name, address or other personal contact details or information. Be wary of any other players who are looking for such information. They may not be who they seem to be.
  • Never arrange to meet with someone you get to know through online gaming unless you have a parent or guardian with you. People aren’t always who they say they are and you could be putting yourself in danger by doing this.

 

Engage in P2P sharing

‘Peer to Peer’ File Swapping or Filesharing can be a simple way to swap files that you are interested in, like music and movies for example with friends and other users on the internet.. Be careful…… 

  • Harmful Material – Be aware of the fact that on many P2P filesharing systems, files will often be misnamed to hide their actual content or even to entice people to open them.. If you have any doubt about what a file may contain, don’t open it!
  • Using File-sharing software can at times compromise your privacy and security, leaving you at risk from Spyware. It can sometimes lead to breaches of your privacy if you inadvertently share more of your computer files with other file-sharers than you mean to. Finally in some cases it can leave your computer more susceptible to the viruses infecting other machines on the P2P networks and to people trying to control computers remotely.
  • Illegal Usage - Much of the material available on filesharing sites is protected by copyright. Infringement of this copyright may lead to legal action being taken against people who upload or download such materials and do not pay the appropriate charges levied by the owners. A significant number of cases have been taken by the music and film industry against individuals who have breached this copyright resulting in awards of thousands of euros against individuals, including children.

It is important to remember that there are many positive aspects to the internet, and that the best way forward is to proactively engage with your children in their endeavours to ensure that they are able to maximise their enjoyment of the internet in the safest possible manner.

• Get Involved: Learn more about what your children are doing online. Become familiar with the systems they use, if you don’t know how to use them ask them to show you or teach yourself how to use them.

• Talk to them: Explain to them the potential dangers that exist, encourage them to talk to you if they are having difficulties or experiencing problems with other users that they may be interacting with on the Internet.

• Set guidelines: Set Guidelines in relation to internet usage, when it can be used, for how long, what kind of information that they should be giving out, encouraging them to treat other users with the same level of respect that they want people to show them.

• Use available resources: Many of the technologies that children use today have resources that can be used to help protect children from inappropriate or obscene content. Filtering, Blocking and Parental Control Systems are among some of the options available.

• Be vigilant: Keep computers where you can see them, keep an eye on the sites that they are visiting to ensure their suitability.

• Report! –Any instances of suspected online child abuse should be reported to www.hotline.ie immediately.

• If you are not sure if the material is illegal or not, it does not matter, report it to the Hotline and it will be assessed.

 • The Hotline only deals with reports about content on the Internet. This service must not be used to report crime or suspected criminal activities taking place in the "real world". Any such reports should be made directly to An Garda Síochána, either at your local Garda station or by using the free Garda Confidential telephone 1800 666 111.

Below is a list with very brief descriptions of some of the main types of technology being used by children today. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list, rather more of a beginners' guide.

Instant Messaging

Instant Messaging is a form of live and instantaneous communication, a mixture of chat rooms, email and phone calls, facilitated by the internet connecting PCs. It can take the form of private communication between known friends where users build up a list of their own contacts and are alerted when they are online, or it can also be a public open environment. Instant Messaging allows people to communicate via the web instantaneously over the using a variety of options including text, voice, video and pictures.

Email

Email stands for Electronic Mail and is a way of sending messages from one computer to another over the Internet. Messages are composed in special e-mail programmes.

Picture and video-messaging

Picture and video messaging are increasingly popular forms of communications, as mobile phone devices become increasingly sophisticated. Essentially the devices allow users to forward pictures and videos in a similar manner to text messages.

Texting

Short Messaging Service (SMS) better known as texting, is the facility on your mobile phone handset which allows the user to write a text message and send this message to another number, where it will be received as a written message.

Social Networking Sites (SNS)

Social Networking areas are websites with applications which help connect friends using a number of tools like blogs, profiles, internal email systems and photos. Well known sites include Facebook and Twitter. There are also a number of SNS specifically for young children, for example Club Penguin, Movie Star Planet etc. Many young people use these sites to create their own profiles, which they then link to those of their friends and so on. Once set up they can use these profiles to share photographs, create blogs and post comments on other people’s profiles and blogs.

Chat rooms

Because the Internet connects PCs, it allows people to "chat". There are certain websites which have chat room forums - which allow people to "post up" messages and converse with each other. Conversations are called "threads".

Surfing the Net

Most people who surf the net will do so by means of a browser, which allows you to look at internet sites. The most common browser used on PCs is Google Chrome. Other browsers include Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox.

Search Engines

Search Engines are used to assist people when surfing the net. Among the more popular search engines are Google (www.google.ie) and Yahoo (www.yahoo.com). Essentially, search engines have a search bar facility, which allows users to type in the specific information they seek. Once you do this and hit search, the search engine trawls the web seeking pages that will have the information that you are seeking, and it then gives you a list of appropriate web addresses.

Games Consoles

Games Consoles are entertainment systems designed specifically to allow users to play games. Popular versions include Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii and Microsoft’s Xbox.Online Games

Online Gaming relates to the process whereby users can, through the internet interact with other online users in playing games. This allows users to play games against other individuals without the need for players to be in the same location. www.pegi.info is an excellent site which provides information on protecting children when they are participating in online gaming.

File Sharing

File Sharing programmes allow users to swap or share files from their PCs with others over the Internet. There are also some commercial peer-to-peer applications which allow users to buy music and video content over the Internet.

Weblogs

Weblogs, more commonly referred to as ‘blogs’ are usually intended for a public audience. A blog also allows for interaction with its readers through comments which can be made on the posting or other comments. Blogs differ from personal websites in that they are made up of a series of individual postings, usually published in chronological order. Generally only the manager(s) of the blog are authorised to post messages. Anyone with an internet connection can upload a comment to a posting. Access to blogs can be restricted if necessary, and comments can either be disabled or moderated by the manager of the blog. They are particularly popular with young people. Bloggers often address a narrow topic and a small, specialised audience.

The best place to start is by understanding the technology that is being used by your children when they are interacting on the internet. Many parents find this immensely daunting. It is not necessary to be completely proficient in Information Technology to do this, even a basic understanding of these technologies will give you the necessary knowledge to help identify the potential risks and to ensure that you and your children can enjoy the internet in the safest possible manner.

There are some simple practical steps you can take to help limit the risks as well as clear advice you can give your child. The best way of doing this is to get involved and understand how your children use the internet. Developing your knowledge of the technology involved and understanding how your child uses this technology to interact with others on the Internet will greatly assist you in guiding and supporting your children to ensure that they are using it in the safest possible manner.

 

As is always the case, with each of the different types of technologies there are both positives and negatives. There is a wide range of excellent sites such as www.webwise.ie and www.thinkuknow.co.uk that provide more detailed information on the various positive and potentially negative aspects of the technology our children use on the internet today. Broadly speaking the key areas of concern that parents should be aware of are as follows:

  1. Anonymous Nature - Parents should be aware that by its nature the Internet allows users to retain their anonymity, particularly in the context of chat rooms and instant messaging. It’s important that children are taught to understand that people they are in contact with may not be what they seem and that they should be very careful in terms of how they interact with others and what kind of information that they should disclose to others accordingly.
  2. Security Issues - Increasingly young people are placing large amounts of personal information on the internet, whether it’s through profiles on social networking sites or disclosing information in conversations in chat rooms. The disclosure of such information may leave them a t risk of the information being used by others to perpetrate fraudulent actions in their names.
  3. Cyberbullying – parents should be aware of the potential risk of individuals using the various types of internet technology and/or materials from the internet for defamatory purposes.

While the internet undoubtedly presents fantastic opportunities for children, it is equally clear that there is a real opportunity for children to be put at risk by their exposure to material and/or individuals which may be harmful. With the rapid evolution of internet technology, through internet on mobile phones and camera phones, parents need to understand that access to the internet is becoming increasingly diverse and therefore increasingly difficult to supervise.

An Garda Síochána encourages the public to report suspected illegal content encountered on the Internet to www.hotline.ie so that Industry and Law Enforcement may know about it and act swiftly against it. Reporting to the Hotline is not a substitute for notifying An Garda Síochána. 

Hotline.ie is an anonymous service to internet users who accidentally uncover illegal content on the Internet, particularly child sexual abuse material. Hotline.ie acts like a filter for An Garda Síochána providing qualified reports (with quality technical information) to initiate the “Notice and Take Down” procedure for the removal by the relevant ISP of the illegal / harmful content from the Internet and the ISP may preserve forensic evidence for investigation by police. Effectively Hotline.ie assists An Garda Síochána make the best use of its resources by focusing only on investigating qualified reports of Online Child Sexual Abuse Material.

There is no other civilian or police hotline specifically for the purpose of reporting suspected illegal content on the Internet in Ireland other than Hotline.ie.

Note: Urgent situations where persons may be in immediate danger should always be reported to An Garda Síochána directly.

Safety advice for parents

I'm concerned that my child has been exploited online. What should I do?

An Garda Síochána encourages the public to report suspected illegal content encountered on the Internet to www.hotline.ie so that Industry and Law Enforcement may know about it and act swiftly against it. Reporting to the Hotline is not a substitute for notifying An Garda Síochána. 

Hotline.ie is an anonymous service to internet users who accidentally uncover illegal content on the Internet, particularly child sexual abuse material. Hotline.ie acts like a filter for An Garda Síochána providing qualified reports (with quality technical information) to initiate the “Notice and Take Down” procedure for the removal by the relevant ISP of the illegal / harmful content from the Internet and the ISP may preserve forensic evidence for investigation by police. Effectively Hotline.ie assists An Garda Síochána make the best use of its resources by focusing only on investigating qualified reports of Online Child Sexual Abuse Material.

There is no other civilian or police hotline specifically for the purpose of reporting suspected illegal content on the Internet in Ireland other than Hotline.ie.

Note: Urgent situations where persons may be in immediate danger should always be reported to An Garda Síochána directly.

How concerned should I be about the Internet?

While the internet undoubtedly presents fantastic opportunities for children, it is equally clear that there is a real opportunity for children to be put at risk by their exposure to material and/or individuals which may be harmful. With the rapid evolution of internet technology, through internet on mobile phones and camera phones, parents need to understand that access to the internet is becoming increasingly diverse and therefore increasingly difficult to supervise.

What are the risks that I should be looking out for?

As is always the case, with each of the different types of technologies there are both positives and negatives. There is a wide range of excellent sites such as www.webwise.ie and www.thinkuknow.co.uk that provide more detailed information on the various positive and potentially negative aspects of the technology our children use on the internet today. Broadly speaking the key areas of concern that parents should be aware of are as follows:

  1. Anonymous Nature - Parents should be aware that by its nature the Internet allows users to retain their anonymity, particularly in the context of chat rooms and instant messaging. It’s important that children are taught to understand that people they are in contact with may not be what they seem and that they should be very careful in terms of how they interact with others and what kind of information that they should disclose to others accordingly.
  2. Security Issues - Increasingly young people are placing large amounts of personal information on the internet, whether it’s through profiles on social networking sites or disclosing information in conversations in chat rooms. The disclosure of such information may leave them a t risk of the information being used by others to perpetrate fraudulent actions in their names.
  3. Cyberbullying – parents should be aware of the potential risk of individuals using the various types of internet technology and/or materials from the internet for defamatory purposes.

What can I do to protect my child?

There are some simple practical steps you can take to help limit the risks as well as clear advice you can give your child. The best way of doing this is to get involved and understand how your children use the internet. Developing your knowledge of the technology involved and understanding how your child uses this technology to interact with others on the Internet will greatly assist you in guiding and supporting your children to ensure that they are using it in the safest possible manner.

Where do I start?

The best place to start is by understanding the technology that is being used by your children when they are interacting on the internet. Many parents find this immensely daunting. It is not necessary to be completely proficient in Information Technology to do this, even a basic understanding of these technologies will give you the necessary knowledge to help identify the potential risks and to ensure that you and your children can enjoy the internet in the safest possible manner.

I’m not great with the technology! OK, so what is ……?

Below is a list with very brief descriptions of some of the main types of technology being used by children today. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list, rather more of a beginners' guide.

Instant Messaging

Instant Messaging is a form of live and instantaneous communication, a mixture of chat rooms, email and phone calls, facilitated by the internet connecting PCs. It can take the form of private communication between known friends where users build up a list of their own contacts and are alerted when they are online, or it can also be a public open environment. Instant Messaging allows people to communicate via the web instantaneously over the using a variety of options including text, voice, video and pictures.

Email

Email stands for Electronic Mail and is a way of sending messages from one computer to another over the Internet. Messages are composed in special e-mail programmes.

Picture and video-messaging

Picture and video messaging are increasingly popular forms of communications, as mobile phone devices become increasingly sophisticated. Essentially the devices allow users to forward pictures and videos in a similar manner to text messages.

Texting

Short Messaging Service (SMS) better known as texting, is the facility on your mobile phone handset which allows the user to write a text message and send this message to another number, where it will be received as a written message.

Social Networking Sites (SNS)

Social Networking areas are websites with applications which help connect friends using a number of tools like blogs, profiles, internal email systems and photos. Well known sites include Facebook and Twitter. There are also a number of SNS specifically for young children, for example Club Penguin, Movie Star Planet etc. Many young people use these sites to create their own profiles, which they then link to those of their friends and so on. Once set up they can use these profiles to share photographs, create blogs and post comments on other people’s profiles and blogs.

Chat rooms

Because the Internet connects PCs, it allows people to "chat". There are certain websites which have chat room forums - which allow people to "post up" messages and converse with each other. Conversations are called "threads".

Surfing the Net

Most people who surf the net will do so by means of a browser, which allows you to look at internet sites. The most common browser used on PCs is Google Chrome. Other browsers include Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox.

Search Engines

Search Engines are used to assist people when surfing the net. Among the more popular search engines are Google (www.google.ie) and Yahoo (www.yahoo.com). Essentially, search engines have a search bar facility, which allows users to type in the specific information they seek. Once you do this and hit search, the search engine trawls the web seeking pages that will have the information that you are seeking, and it then gives you a list of appropriate web addresses.

Games Consoles

Games Consoles are entertainment systems designed specifically to allow users to play games. Popular versions include Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii and Microsoft’s Xbox.Online Games

Online Gaming relates to the process whereby users can, through the internet interact with other online users in playing games. This allows users to play games against other individuals without the need for players to be in the same location. www.pegionline.eu is an excellent site which provides information on protecting children when they are participating in online gaming.

File Sharing

File Sharing programmes allow users to swap or share files from their PCs with others over the Internet. There are also some commercial peer-to-peer applications which allow users to buy music and video content over the Internet.

Weblogs

Weblogs, more commonly referred to as ‘blogs’ are usually intended for a public audience. A blog also allows for interaction with its readers through comments which can be made on the posting or other comments. Blogs differ from personal websites in that they are made up of a series of individual postings, usually published in chronological order. Generally only the manager(s) of the blog are authorised to post messages. Anyone with an internet connection can upload a comment to a posting. Access to blogs can be restricted if necessary, and comments can either be disabled or moderated by the manager of the blog. They are particularly popular with young people. Bloggers often address a narrow topic and a small, specialised audience.

Ok, with so much potential danger out there, how can I protect my children from the risks?

It is important to remember that there are many positive aspects to the internet, and that the best way forward is to proactively engage with your children in their endeavours to ensure that they are able to maximise their enjoyment of the internet in the safest possible manner.

• Get Involved: Learn more about what your children are doing online. Become familiar with the systems they use, if you don’t know how to use them ask them to show you or teach yourself how to use them.

• Talk to them: Explain to them the potential dangers that exist, encourage them to talk to you if they are having difficulties or experiencing problems with other users that they may be interacting with on the Internet.

• Set guidelines: Set Guidelines in relation to internet usage, when it can be used, for how long, what kind of information that they should be giving out, encouraging them to treat other users with the same level of respect that they want people to show them.

• Use available resources: Many of the technologies that children use today have resources that can be used to help protect children from inappropriate or obscene content. Filtering, Blocking and Parental Control Systems are among some of the options available.

• Be vigilant: Keep computers where you can see them, keep an eye on the sites that they are visiting to ensure their suitability.

• Report! –Any instances of suspected online child abuse should be reported to www.hotline.ie immediately.

• If you are not sure if the material is illegal or not, it does not matter, report it to the Hotline and it will be assessed.

 • The Hotline only deals with reports about content on the Internet. This service must not be used to report crime or suspected criminal activities taking place in the "real world". Any such reports should be made directly to An Garda Síochána, either at your local Garda station or by using the free Garda Confidential telephone 1800 666 111.

Safety Advice for Children

I've found some material online that seems strange and wrong, and makes me feel uncomfortable. Should I tell someone?

Yes. If you find material that you think might be illegal, or if you’re having experiences on the internet that don’t seem right, then you should do the following: REPORT IT!

If you come across material that you think may be illegal, then you should report it to www.hotline.ie. Note that this is an anonymous service and you do not have to give your name or any personal information.

 

What kind of material might be illegal?

Illegal material involves child pornography, child trafficking or child grooming, or any racist or xenophobic material i.e. anything designed to incite hatred or discrimination.

What if I'm not sure if the material is illegal or not?

It does not matter.  Report it to the Hotline and it will be assessed.

The Hotline only deals with reports about content on the Internet. This service must not be used to report crime or suspected criminal activities taking place in the “real world”. Any such reports should be made directly to An Garda Síochána, either at your local Garda station or by using the free Garda Confidential telephone 1800 666 111.

Reporting to the Hotline is not a substitute for notifying An Garda Síochána. Urgent situations where persons may be in immediate danger should always be reported to An Garda Síochána directly.

 

What if I'm too afraid to report it and just want to tell someone about how I feel?

If you have a bad experience on the Internet, or if you feel uncomfortable with any situation don’t be afraid to tell someone. Talk to parents, friends or a trusted adult. You can also contact the following helplines:

The Samaritans (www.samaritans.org) - Lo Call 1850 60 90 90

ISPCC (www.ispcc.ie) - (01) 6767960

Childline (www.childline.ie) - Freefone 1800 66 66 66

Barnardos (www.barnardos.ie) - (01) 453 0355/Lo Call: 1850 222 300

 

I'm being cyberbullied. What should I do?  

If you're being bullied the first thing you should do is tell an adult or someone you trust. Secondly, don't respond in any shape or form to the bullying. Finally, save the evidence in order to help authorities like the Gardaí protect you.  

When I’m online I like to engage with …

Instant Messaging

IM is great for chatting to your friends, its quick, you can set up contact lists so can see when your friends are on line at the same time as you and you can talk to more than one of them at the same time. Be careful……

  • People aren’t always what they seem, make sure that the people on your contact list are people that you know in the real world;
  • If people add you to their contact list and you don’t know them use your blocking function to stop them from seeing you on line and then they won’t be able to contact you.
  • If you have a profile on IM, don’t put too much personal information like your contact details, addresses or where you go to school. Use a cartoon character or symbol instead of a photo.

 

Chat Rooms

Chat rooms can be a good way to stay in touch or to meet new people. Often these chat rooms can be set up based around particular topics or themes that you might have a particular interest in. Be careful…… 

  • Remember the anonymous nature of the internet makes it easy for people to pretend to be something that they are not.
  • Always be careful about the kind of information that you give out in chat rooms.
  • Report instances where you feel something is suspicious or not quite right. Tell an adult or someone you trust. Try and keep copies of any material that you think might help.
  • Never arrange to meet up with people you don’t know, that you have met in a chat room, without an adult or guardian present.

 

Social Networking Sites

Social Networking Sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter amongst others allow you to create your own profiles, linking to your friends’ profiles, creating blogs and commenting on other peoples profiles and sharing photos. Be careful……

  • Of giving out too much personal information. Remember that the information that you put on your profile can be seen by everybody. Once you place the information /photos on the Internet it can be seen and copied/used by others, i.e. you lose control over it, people may attempt to use it ways that you never intended. Use your privacy settings to protect yourself and limit what people other than your friends can see and do with your information.
  • Of Cyber bullying. Be aware that people may use these sites to carry out bullying and harassment. They may attempt to use material from your profile in malicious ways, post nasty comments etc. Remember it is relatively easy to trace online bullies. Keep the evidence and bring it to the attention of someone you trust.
  • Remember people aren’t always what they seem, you cannot assume that the information supplied by other users on their profiles is authentic. Be careful of accepting people into your chat areas. Think about the material you are going to share with these people. Is it the kind of stuff that you want everyone, including complete strangers?

 

Blog

Blogging is an easy way for you to share your thoughts and opinions on a whole wide range of things. But it’s important to remember that because blogs are on the internet, anyone maybe able to look at it. It’s important to remember this so you think long and hard about what kind of information you really want to put out there for people to see. Be careful…… 

  • Try to limit the amount of personal information that you give out. People aren’t always what they seem and such individuals may use information gleaned from your blogs to befriend you for their own reasons which may place you in danger.
  • Be aware of what you say. While it is all well and good to have opinions on certain matters, it is important to aware of the impact of what you say may have on other. Posting inappropriate comments/pictures on blogs can be a particularly insidious form of cyber bullying. Always think before you type!

 

Online Gaming

Online Gaming can be a good way to interact and befriend new people while playing with or against them. Many people enjoy the challenge or competing with others or sharing their knowledge an experience to improve their skills and learn ways to beat the system. Be careful……

  • Don’t give out any personal information. Remember when gaming online other players don’t need to know your real name, address or other personal contact details or information. Be wary of any other players who are looking for such information. They may not be who they seem to be.
  • Never arrange to meet with someone you get to know through online gaming unless you have a parent or guardian with you. People aren’t always who they say they are and you could be putting yourself in danger by doing this.

 

Engage in P2P sharing

‘Peer to Peer’ File Swapping or Filesharing can be a simple way to swap files that you are interested in, like music and movies for example with friends and other users on the internet.. Be careful…… 

  • Harmful Material – Be aware of the fact that on many P2P filesharing systems, files will often be misnamed to hide their actual content or even to entice people to open them.. If you have any doubt about what a file may contain, don’t open it!
  • Using File-sharing software can at times compromise your privacy and security, leaving you at risk from Spyware. It can sometimes lead to breaches of your privacy if you inadvertently share more of your computer files with other file-sharers than you mean to. Finally in some cases it can leave your computer more susceptible to the viruses infecting other machines on the P2P networks and to people trying to control computers remotely.
  • Illegal Usage - Much of the material available on filesharing sites is protected by copyright. Infringement of this copyright may lead to legal action being taken against people who upload or download such materials and do not pay the appropriate charges levied by the owners. A significant number of cases have been taken by the music and film industry against individuals who have breached this copyright resulting in awards of thousands of euros against individuals, including children.