Instructions on the use of the internet for children and young people - Police
Poliisin ohjeet nuorille ja lapsille netissä en
Instructions on the use of the internet for children and young people
How can you use the internet safely? What should you do if something bad happens to you on social media channels, for example? Who can you turn to for help? Below, there is a list of things that should be kept in mind, as well as the police’s instructions on how to use the internet safely.
The law and the internet
Even though it is possible to stay anonymous, i.e. not to use your real name, on online platforms, exactly the same laws apply there as in real life.
Harassment and bullying on the internet
Harassment and bullying on the internet are phenomena that should never be accepted in any form. Typically, online harassment includes calling someone names or spreading information about them. In some cases, cyberbullies spread lies or personal details about someone else or their family, for example.
When talking about cyberbullying, people do not necessarily know that it can be considered a crime and the bully may be liable to pay compensation. Cyberbullying and online harassment can be considered a crime if they involve stalking or spreading information which infringes an individual’s right to privacy, for example.
If someone spreads information about you or calls you names on the internet, tell a trustworthy adult about what has happened. In addition, do not be afraid to say if you have written bad things about others. Things often work out just by talking.
If you pretend to be someone else on social media channels by using a fake profile, for example, you may commit a crime called identity theft. You must not sign in or break into someone else’s profile either. It can be considered hacking, unauthorised use or a violation of the secrecy of communications.
If someone has signed in to your social media account without your permission, ask an adult for help and contact the administrator of the channel. If you sign in to someone else’s account, sign out and tell the owner of the account what has happened.
Online sexual harassment and nude pictures
Sexual harassment can take many forms on the internet. Online sexual harassment can include sexual innuendo or suggestions. In addition, it can include asking for nude pictures or sending them without being asked to. If you have sent a nude picture of yourself to someone else, ask the recipient to delete the picture. Even if you feel embarrassed, you should tell about it to an adult. You will feel better when you talk about what has happened.
If someone else shares a picture showing you naked or scantily clothed, tell an adult as soon as possible. Together you can find out what is the best way to resolve the matter. Remember that it is never your fault if people share pictures of you. Do not share sensitive material about others, either. It is a crime to spread nude pictures of another person without their permission, and spreading nude pictures of a child is always a crime even with permission.
If someone threatens you on the internet, do not reply to their messages. You should never give in to a person who is threatening you. Threatening can be considered a crime so take screenshots of threatening messages and tell an adult about what has happened.
Sometimes on social media channels, you can come across pictures or videos that are violent or include things that make you feel bad. If you see a violent video, for example, report inappropriate content to the social media platform. If someone sends you a disturbing video or picture, do not forward it to others. Sharing violent material may be a criminal offence.
To use the internet safely, you have to take care of data security. Always protect your mobile phone, tablet or computer with a password. Come up with a password that others will not guess easily. Do not share your passwords with other people. Similarly, never share the passwords of your social media accounts. Consider carefully what you publish and what kind of pictures you send of yourself. Once you share something online, it may be very difficult to erase the material.
Who can you turn to for advice and help?
In all the cases mentioned above, you should first tell about what has happened to a trustworthy adult. Adults are responsible for helping young people address any issues. You should also discuss the matter with your friends. The most important thing is that you do not keep bad things to yourself.
You can also contact the police to get help with issues related to the internet. Feel free to contact virtual police officers through social media channels if you have anything on your mind.
If you suspect that someone has broken the law on the internet, you can send a net tip to the police.