There are many sites available that allow you to talk to other people on the web. Chat rooms and networks give you the chance to have a conversation with other people and get instant replies, while online message boards let you post questions or comments and ask other users to give their opinion in their own time.
They can be a great way to communicate to other people who share your interests, but you should always be careful not to pass on any of your personal details. You should always keep in mind that Internet users can pretend to be anyone they like. They can lie about their age, their interests and whether they’re male or female. No matter how long you’ve been chatting, remember they’re still strangers; you don’t really know them at all.
Please take time to read our Computing and E-safety Policy. We also have an Information Leaflet for Parents.
Social networks are a great way of keeping in touch but you should think carefully before adding someone to your list of online friends or posting a blog entry that could get you into trouble at school, college or work. Remember that:
- your page is still a public place, so putting anything on your page that you wouldn’t want your parents or teacher to see is not a good idea
- you can never be sure that other users are being truthful about their online identities so be careful about what information you give out
- think about whether you know someone well enough before accepting someone into your group of linked friends
- make sure you know who to contact to report abuse or bullying on your page and how your complaint will be dealt with and tell your parents.