While we all have to stay at a home due to the coronavirus outbreak, a lot of us will be keeping in touch with friends and family using video group chat apps.
This is great fun, but sometimes things can go wrong.
So we've got some useful tips for staying safe.
Tips for making your video calls safe
- You might be using apps like Houseparty and Zoom, but have you heard of the phrase 'zoombombing'? This is where uninvited strangers enter meetings and try to take it over and it's on the rise as more people use the app to stay in touch during the coronavirus restrictions. To keep your Zoom chat safe make sure the meeting link is private and password protected and only share these details with your friends. Also set screen sharing to host only.
- When you're using Houseparty only accept friend requests from people you know, turn off location settings for the app, lock the chat room by tapping on the padlock icon on the bottom of the screen and select 'private mode' to do this automatically.
- Keep your private stuff private. Select private settings on all chat apps and only share personal stuff with friends you know face to face.
- Be careful what you chat about. Don't share personal stuff like your phone number, where you go to school, or where you live.
- Be really careful with any photos or videos you share, particularly if they are a bit embarrassing. If you wouldn't want your parents or teachers to see it then don't share it.
- If anyone puts pressure on you to do anything you don't want to do or feel uncomfortable with, it's ok to say no. Stop the conversation and go and talk to an adult you trust. You won't be in trouble and they will be able to help.
- If you see a video or photo on your chat that is confusing or scary then stop the conversation and go and talk to an adult you trust.
Who can help if things go wrong?
Think of an adult you trust who makes you feel safe. They might be:
- Your dad, mum or carer.
- Another family member.
- Another grown up who looks after you.
If you feel you still need help after you speak to them, don't give up. Tell another adult you trust until you get the help you need.
You can also contact Childline on 0800 1111 for free at any time.
Childline is run by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).