Jonathan, an online safety expert from Think U Know (CEOP), popped by to answer your questions about internet safety which were sent into the CBBC Messageboards on Safer Internet Day. Read on to find out best practice on how to stay safe whilst spending time on the web.

Personally I get scared putting my name on game accounts or social sites just because I don't like people knowing my identity...  Is it ok to put your name on games and social websites or is it safer just to stick to a fake name??? -   CrystalVanillaPrimrose

Jonathan's advice:  You're right to think about this carefully, but don't be scared. It's always a good idea to check what information will be published publically on a website (where everyone would be able to see it), and what will be kept private (so only you can see it).

It's always a good idea to use a nickname for bits of websites that everyone can see, your friends will know who you are. By friends, I mean people you know face to face, like the people you go to school with.

Is giving out your date of birth safe?   TanzaniteMetallicPear

Jonathan's advice:  At thinkuknow, we always tell young people not to give out personal information to people they don't know or trust. We do think your date of birth is personal information about you, and you should only share it with people you know face to face. 

Don't lie about your age online - but there's no need to share your exact birth date with everyone.

If you or someone you know has given out any personal information and you're worried about it, speak to a trusted adult like a parent, teacher or carer.

What is different about a social networking site than a normal site?   SapphireGlowingLettuce

Jonathan's advice:  There are lots of websites out there, but on social networking sites you can put information about yourself, add comments, photos and videos, and talk to friends. 

Remember, that most social networking sites are for over 13s because you need to be really careful with the things you share about yourself online and who you talk to. 

Speak to a trusted adult if you want to learn more about it.

Is it safe to talk to my friends on the Internet? Or would it be someone else, pretending to be my friend?  -  GoldWhirlingFoldee

Jonathan's advice:  It can be lots of fun talking to your friends online! 

You might talk to your e-budz on the messageboards, and although you might not know them in real-life, everyone can see what you're talking about, so that's okay.

But if you go on a website where you can private message, it's really important to make sure you know who you're talking to and that you know them face to face.

If you want to keep up with your face to face friends online and chat to them, make sure you all know what your online names are. Don't add any 'friends' or 'buddies' that you don't recognise.

If you're unsure whether you know someone, wait until you see them face to face.

I have been through online bullying before but if it happens again do you report to ceop straight away or tell someone you know? AgateBigPony

Jonathan's advice:  Bullying online can be really upsetting, and it's really important that you do seek help and support. If someone's bullying you on a website, email or over text message, don't reply to them, but save any messages you have. 

You should then go and speak to a trusted adult, like a parent, teacher or carer who will be able to help make it stop. If you want to talk to someone your own age, you can speak to someone at Cyber-Mentors ( Stay Safe Useful Websites )

Cyber mentors are young people like you, who you can email or chat to online about your experiences.

If someone's put something nasty about you online, depending on the site you're on, you can sometimes report this to the site and they will look into it.

I once went on a chatroom game, and a man asked me personal questions. I made up fake answers for the questions, so he didn't get any of my personal infomation. Is it ok to do that? DiamondSuperCheetah

Jonathan's advice:  It's really good that you didn't give away your personal information, but if people approach you online asking for it, the best thing to do is block them or report them to the site you're on. 

If someone keeps trying to contact you and they're making you feel uncomfortable, you should report them to us at Ceop (you can find a link to us here -  Stay Safe Useful Websites ) and we will investigate.

How can you tell that a website isn't secure? StarstoneSmileyButterfly

Jonathan's advice: There are so many websites, it's natural to worry about wether or not the ones you visit are safe or whether there might be things on them you don't want to see. 

If you're looking for information, use the sites you've been shown at school or ones that your parent or carer has shown you. Be really careful about downloading anything from sites, like music or programs, they might contain viruses that will damage your computer.

If you're visiting a site that asks for personal details, like a gaming site, you need to be careful with what you share. You should check to see if it has any safety information, and whether there's somewhere for your parent/carer to learn about the site.

If you're unsure or worried about any site, always get your parent or carer to check the site first.

Thanks so much for all your questions, I really enjoyed chatting to you. For lots more information on staying safe online, check out the stay safe section of the CBBC website Stay Safe  and for even more head the Thinkuknow website  - where there's cartoons, games and more.

Stay safe online!

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