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Online Safety: Keeping yourself and others safe online

Keeping you and those around you safe online

Our world is now more connected than ever, with the growth of online platforms providing unprecedented opportunity to connect and communicate with people all around the world. Never has it been easier to get up-to-the-second news stories, communicate with friends and family abroad, or share our thoughts and opinions on everything from the latest grumpy cat meme to the actions young leaders are taking to tackle important issues such as climate change. This increased connectivity has bought with it many positives, with faster and more effective communications benefitting even those in the most remote corners of the planet. The rise of social media in particular has democratised how we engage with everyone from politicians and global institutions to businesses and influencers, and with it, galvanised local and global communities into action, collectively bringing about positive social change.

It is, however, also important to remember that exposure to a wider audience brings increased risk. The anonymity of conversing from behind a screen can mean people feel protected and empowered to act in ways they wouldn’t usually do in person. Although this can often be a positive thing, providing people a platform to voice their feelings or join conversations that they might otherwise be excluded from, it also legitimises bad behaviour, as people feel far removed from the real-life person or situation. As more people and businesses move online, it is therefore more important than ever to know how to protect yourself and your organisations from harm.

To help keep you get started, The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust have created a handy one-pager guide which includes general advice and best practice guidelines for practicing good digital safety. Click here to download.

Please note: These tips have been put together assuming you are engaging online as an individual. However, if you are responsible for the digital activities of an organisation, the same key principles will apply: • Think carefully before you post, being respectful towards your audience and who might be negatively affected by your content. • Remain vigilant in protecting personal information, especially passwords and financial data. • Report anything that seems suspicious or makes you feel uncomfortable to the relevant support centres and/or authorities.

We all have a responsibility to ensure that the time we spend online is as positive an experience as possible, not just for ourselves, but for those around us. We hope you find the guide a useful resource and would love to hear from you on your top tips around staying protected online. What would be your advice to other young people looking to keep themselves safe online? Let us know via info@qct.org.uk.

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Other useful resources:

Get Safe OnlineHeartMob: Online harrassment resourcesSquarespace: Dealing with online harrassment

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