Staying safe online

Here are some immediate safety and security measures you can take, which will help to keep you safe online.

Minimize your ‘digital footprint’ – Your ‘digital footprint’ is the traceable digital activities that are left whenever we use networked technologies (such as a smartphone, computer or tablet), which include our communications, personal and financial information and location. Our digital footprint can be used to infer personal information, such as religious and political views, without the user’s knowledge. However, the following steps can be taken to minimize your digital footprint and keep personal data more private when you are on the Web.

  • Keep passwords secure - Never share you passwords with anyone else and make sure that they are strong. Don’t leave your computer unlocked with your social media or other sensitive accounts logged in. If you log into social media accounts on your phone, make sure you have a passcode set up on it.
  • Make the most of privacy settings - keep your profiles private and allow access only to chosen friends and family members. Security settings on social media can change, so review your privacy settings regularly.
  • Guard personal information - Don't post personal information (e.g. your birthday, address, email address or mobile number) on your online profiles. Just one piece of personal information, such as your date of birth, could be used by a stranger to find out more about you, which may make you vulnerable to identity theft and fraud.
  • Think about what you post - Social media is public and what goes online has the potential to stay online even if you delete it (e.g. as a screenshot). Remember what you post may be accessible to prospective employers and others who may be researching you now, or in the future

Regulate your use of social media – While social media has many benefits, it is an unregulated space where online harassment and abuse is widespread. To ensure that you maintain a positive relationship with social media, it is best to regulate your use of it. For more information on how you can improve your relationship with social media, read this article, written by Professor Peter Kinderman, Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, University of Liverpool.

Further resources about online safety 

Online harassment can take many different forms, and can occur through so many different mediums and platforms, that it can be difficult to know how to protect yourself from it. A number of organisations and advocacy groups in the U.K. and elsewhere have produced resources about different forms of online harassment and hate crime, including those listed below, which offer advice on dealing with it, such as immediate online safety and security measures you can take. 

We have made every effort to ensure that the weblinks below are accurate. However, we cannot take responsibility for pages maintained by external providers.   

Speak Up & Stay Safe(r): A Guide to Protecting Yourself From Online Harassment

Online harassment field manual


Stop online abuse

Stop Hate UK

UK Government: Disrespect Nobody

Digital stalking: A guide to technology risks for victims

Revenge Porn Guide

Revenge Porn Helpline

Campaign against Anti-Semitism

Tell Mama: Measuring anti-Muslim attacks

Disability Rights UK

Stonewall (campaigning for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality)

Galop (for LGBT people)