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What is online crime?

Online crime can be:

  • Hacking; to steal information or data.
  • Identity theft; when someone steals your identity.
  • Grooming; when someone older makes friends with you for the wrong reasons.
  • Cyber-bullying; when someone uses the internet to send hurtful or upsetting messages to others, constantly follows you on messaging apps, social media or websites to make you feel scared, upset or anxious.


The Internet and Social Media

Social media and the internet can be used to learn about new things, create content, stay in touch with your friends or play games. It can be a great tool to share ideas and events.

You probably use the internet everyday on your phone, tablet, laptop or at school on computers.

But sometimes people use the internet to cause harm, bully or hurt people. Have a read of our tips below on how you can make safer choices online and when using social media.

If you have experienced online crime, we’re here to help. We will be able to answer your questions and help support you.


10 tips to make safer choices online and on social media:

  1. Think twice: Before posting or sending pictures, think if you would want your parents, friends or future employers to see this. Even if you trust the person you are sending the pictures still think.
  2. Do you know who your online friends really are?: Meeting up with someone you only know online, can be dangerous, even if this is a friend of a friend, as this person is still a stranger. If someone you only know online ever asks you to meet up, for personal information or for photos/videos of you then tell an adult straight away and report them together on
  3. Use strong passwords: The longer your password is, the more secure it will be. Use a different password for each of your social media, gaming or online accounts.
  4. Keep personal information safe: When chatting or posting online don’t give away things like your full name, password or home address. Remember personal information can be seen in images and videos you share too.
  5. Be selective with friend requests: If you don’t know the person, don’t accept their request or respond to their messages. It could be a fake account and someone pretending to be someone they are not.
  6. Know your security settings: All online and social media platforms – Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook etc. – have security settings. Know how you can change these to keep information private, where to report something and how to block someone.
  7. Click links with caution: Social media accounts are regularly hacked. Look out for language or words that do not sound like something your friend would post. Can you trust that the link you’re clicking on from a supposed “friend” doesn’t contain a virus or some sort of spying program? Do not accept something if you are unsure of who the person is or what they’ve sent you.
  8. Do not link your accounts: Many websites and apps give you the option to ‘Log in with Facebook’, rather than creating a separate account. But by doing this, your social network may share all the information it holds about you, including the date and place of your birth, your email address and employment details, along with photos. With just one log-in for different sites, if one site is hacked, then all your accounts can be too.
  9. Anti-Virus software: Staying safe on social media means staying safe online in general. This is where a good anti-virus program comes in handy. Regular sweeps, perhaps daily, will help to keep you a lot safer.
  10. Tell a trusted adult: If something or someone ever makes you feel upset, worried or confused. There are lots of people who will be able to help you like your teachers, parents, carers or contact Childline – 0800 11 11 or

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