The internet is a great way for young people to find information, get support and connect with others. As young carers you can also make contact with other young people who are in a similar situation.
Here at YCNet, the Online Support Team are there to make sure young people are kept safe. We moderate the discussion boards and chat room on our website. But all online communities may not be like this so it's important to know how you can stay safe online:
Sharing personal information
Don't trust everyone: Don't share your personal information online as you can't be sure who you are really talking to. Think of a username that isn't too similar to your real name and avoid talking about things like the area you live, your telephone number, the school you go to or other places, such as clubs and sports centres where you spend time.
Be careful about posting photographs and videos: If you are posting on photo-sharing and video-hosting websites like YouTube avoid those that include your personal details like your real picture or location of home etc.
Word of caution: Other people could be looking at, editing and sharing your pictures or videos even after it's been removed.
Social Networking Sites
These are a great way to stay in touch with friends and family but it's also good to think about who might be able to see what's on your profile. Following are some links you can look at to know how to manage your privacy on these websites:
On Facebook you can set your profile so that only your friends can see it. You can also block people who you don't want contact with. This can be done by clicking 'Account' then the 'privacy settings' option at the top of the screen. There's lots of different security setting options on Facebook. Have a look here for more information: http://www.facebook.com/privacy/explanation.php
Advice about staying safe can be found here http://www.bebo.com/Safety.jsp
Helpful tips on how to stay safe http://www.myspace.com/help/safety/tips
Word of caution: If you use social networking sites on a computer that is used by other people it's a good idea to log out when you're not using it; this stops other people accessing your account. And don't ever share your password with other people.
Remember: It is best not to meet anyone in person when you have met them online. If someone asks to meet you it is always safest to take along an adult you trust and to meet somewhere public.
Reporting problems/who to tell if you're worried
If you are upset or worried about anything that happens online then it's always a good idea to tell an adult you can trust. If you don't have anyone you can talk to, you can contact the following:
Childline for help: Their telephone number is 0800 1111, or you can go to their website by following this link: http://www.childline.org.uk/Pages/Home.aspx
CEOP: You can report anything you're worried about here - http://www.ceop.police.uk/report-abuse/
Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place online or through mobile phone contact. It can be just as upsetting as bullying that happens in school. Following are some great links on how to deal with cyberbullying:
Links to other websites
YCNet includes links to external websites - that means websites that aren't connected to Carers Trust (the organisation which runs YCNet). We only include links to websites which we feel will be helpful and are appropriate for young people but it's important to be aware, though, that we aren't responsible for what's on these external sites. If you find something that worries you on one of these links then please let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.