Q & A
An ex has put horrible photos of me online – these come up when people search for my name – who should I tell? How can I get them taken down?
The quickest way to get an image removed would be to speak with the person who uploaded it and explaining to them that you are not happy with it being shared and asking them to remove it.
Depending on the nature of the image - for example if it is an ‘indecent’ picture – the first step should be to report it to the site which it appears on via their reporting tools. If the site doesn’t have an obvious report function, you can call ChildLine on 0800 1111 and ask them to report it to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). Only when the image is removed from the actual website, will it stop appearing in search engine results (this does take a little time).
If the image is not illegal but is something which you are embarrassed about, it can be tricky to get it removed. Most websites have a way for you to ask them to remove ‘content’ – like videos, pictures, comments or profiles – that upsets you. This is called making a ‘report’. Find out more about how to report content to social media sites here.
Just like in school, most websites have a set of rules which they expect people using their site to obey. If you want to have something taken down from a site you should check to see if it breaks one of their rules. You can find out where to report on different sites here [hyperlink to digital footprint]
If you are being bullied because of something shared over the internet, you should speak with a trusted adult such as a parent, carer or a teacher to get help and advice.
How can I stop myself from getting in trouble for the things I’ve shared online ages ago?
It is important to remember that when you post or upload things to the internet, it is very difficult to stay in control of what happens to it. Things can spread very easily and what may have seemed like a good idea at the time, can seem foolish or embarrassing in the future, or even get you into trouble. Some people have even been refused jobs and college places because somebody has researched their name online and not liked what they have seen. The best thing to do is to always think before you upload or post anything on the internet.
But, if you have uploaded something which you regret, it’s not too late to do something about it. You can often remove content from social networks via the settings menu of that particular service. It is also possible to limit the audience for the things you share, for example, allow only your friends to see things that you share online. However, you should still be careful as you’re unable to control who your friends share it with.
Find out more about how to stay in control of your online reputation here.
How do I know if I’ve been hacked? How can I stop myself getting hacked?
If your computer or phone is attacked by a virus or malware you might find your computer is running slowly, or things might be behaving strangely in your web-browser. For example, you might find your computer suddenly opens new windows or pop-ups without you asking it to.
Pop ups and some other types of adverts can install malware on a computer without you knowing- this type of issue is commonly reported where people have visited certain websites, including porn sites.
Make sure your anti-virus and anti-malware software is up-to-date, and don’t turn it off – even if you think it might speed up a game! You can find advice on blocking pop-ups and other adverts here.
What’s a strong password?
When choosing a password, it is advisable not to use ones which lots of people use such as sequences of numbers or letters e.g. 123456, QWERTY or Password! Similarly, you shouldn’t use easily identifiable passwords such as your name. A strong password combination usually consists of a mixture of letters (capitals and lower case), numbers and symbols. To keep passwords secure you shouldn’t share them with anyone, even your best friend. It is also a good idea to use different passwords for each of your online accounts.
I shared some stuff on an old social network I don’t use anymore – what can I do to stop that stuff getting me in trouble now?
You may have used a social network when you were younger that you no longer use and you may wish to remove this content from the site. Usually, it is possible to deactivate the account via the ‘account settings’ section of the particular network.
Find out more about how to take control of your online reputation here.