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Protecting yourself on social media

Mobile phones, laptops, social media, webcams … these are all great inventions that have transformed communication from the days when you had to ring your mates on the phone that was wired into the kitchen whilst your Mum cooked tea. But there are dangers that come with these amazing things.

Cyber-bullying

For some reason, people sometimes write things in texts, instant messages and online posts that they wouldn’t dream of saying to people’s faces. Cyber-bullying is a very real thing that affects thousands of young people. Don’t deal with this on your own – speak to someone you trust and report abuse to the website you are on.

Sexting

If you send someone a naked photo, you can’t ever be sure where it will end up eventually or who might see it. It’s easy to feel pressured into doing so, or to undress in front of a webcam for someone, but any person who puts you under that pressure is in the wrong. The law actually says you shouldn’t take sexual pictures of yourself if you are under 18 and it is illegal for someone to show those pictures to anyone else. If you have had a bad experience of this kind, it’s always better to speak up and tell someone about it.

Meeting people onlineonline

It’s always nice to make new friends, but the internet is not the best place to do it. It is far too easy for people to pretend to be younger, more attractive and nicer than they really are. Only add people you already know and never plan to meet up with someone that you have only ever talked to on the internet.

Check out Thinkyouknow for more information on internet safety

Keeping safe on a night out

Parties, proms, big nights out in town – they’re supposed to be fun, the thing we look forward to all week. Sometimes though, they’re not all they’re cracked up to be. Sometimes things can get a bit out of control; alcohol, for example, can make us do funny things.

Sometimes funny “ha ha” – sometimes not so actually funny. Sometimes alcohol stops us thinking straight and we end up in situations we don’t know how to get out of. Sometimes it makes other people do things they wouldn’t normally do, makes them think they are King of the World and that everyone wants them. Sometimes it makes them deaf when we say “No”.

Whilst you sadly can’t stop other people from behaving like idiots or being inappropriate towards you, there are some simple things you can do to protect yourself and make sure that your big night out stays a great night out.

  • Before you go out, take a moment to be sure of what you want to happen and more importantly what you don’t want to happen.

  • Talk with them about what you want to happen and then look out for each other – if you see your mate disappearing into the dark with someone, go and make sure they’re doing what they actually want to do and that they’re with someone who can definitely be trusted. Do what you can to protect them from a big regret in the morning.

  • Don’t spend your last fiver on a drink if it is how you are going to pay for the taxi home. Have a plan with your mates to make sure no one is going to be on their own late at night. Protect each other.

  • It sounds silly but if you’ve thought of some great excuses beforehand you’ll find it easier to remember them when the time comes and someone is throwing all their best chat-up lines at you. If necessary, be rude! Here are some top get-outs:

    • Sorry, I have to go – my mate’s calling me.”
    • Sorry, I have to go to the loo, I’m desperate for a wee.”
    • I think I just saw my dad – I better go!”
    • My boyfriend is looking for me – see you around!”
  • We don’t want to sound like your Nan – but she has a point. We make ourselves vulnerable when we drink too much. It’s much easier to keep control of the situations we are in when we’re not drunk.

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If you feel that things have gotten out of control on a night out and you would like to talk about it, call us on 0808 802 0808 or text 07717 989 022

“I’m now able to go out with my friends, before I was too frightened. Counselling has helped me to say what I want rather than looking after everybody else.”

girl aged 15 years