What is E-Safety?

E-safety can cover a wide variety of issues and topics, sometimes more than you'd think!

Click here for our helpful glossary of terms - and what they mean.

Social Networking

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Ask FM

Social networking site where users ask each other questions. This can take place entirely anonymously. Answers can be given either by text or by video. You can answer any question in your feed, or be asked a specific question. It can be linked to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The site has been a factor in a number of tragic cyberbullying cases. Sexually aggressive, offensive or bullying material can be posted entirely unmoderated.


The once popular social networking site which claimed to be a more creative alternative to its rivals, where users could dramatically alter and create the look of their pages with skins, blog posts, whiteboard drawings etc. Now a new version of the site is being designed and relaunched.

When using a social network, it's important to consider what you're sharing and who you're sharing it with. To find out more, click here


A catfish is someone who assumes a false identity in order to pursue an online relationship. The term comes from the 2010 film about a man who believes he is in a relationship with a young woman but discovers he is being hoaxed. A catfish may have many attractive pictures on their profile and accounts on popular social networking and deating sites. They aim to start an online relationship with someone that can be very intense and seem very personal, and in some cases can lead to identity theft, fraud and other scams.

For more information, please click here


Online dating works by joining a dating website or app, where you can create a profile, search other users for suitable matches (sometimes calculated in percentages based on similarities) and can message people you like. They are only for people aged 18 plus, and underage use is discouraged. Some dating services such as Match ask for a subscription fee; others, such as OK Cupid and Plenty of Fish, are free. There are also many apps such as Tinder and Grindr which focus on casual relationships.

Whilst these services offer a chance to meet new people, it’s important to be careful what information you share and to stay safe when talking to people you don’t know. Not everyone is who they say they are.

For more information about staying safe when online dating, click here

If you are experiencing online abuse or someone is behaving inappropriately, you can report this to the police at 101 (to report the incident to Avon and Somerset Police) or if you have received immediate threats to your safety, please phone 999. You can report any bad behaviour online, whether you’re suffering from it or are worried about a friend, at the CEOP website, by clicking the eye icon in the top right hand corner of the website. To visit the website, click here


An online forum is like a message board, where groups of individuals can have a conversation or discuss a topic, posting their views publicly for other users to read and reply. Forums are usually moderated, to prevent spam messages or trolling and abuse.

To find out more about forum netiquette, click here


A hashtag is where a social media user creates their own search term for a topic and by using a hash (#) creates a hyperlink to a page which links all identically hashtagged content. This allows any user to search for content with this tag quickly, and to join in discussions.

Whilst it's great to join in with trending discussions and share your images and thoughts with others, it's important to consider what terms you're using and how they would look to an employer or university. Hashtags can make your content searchable, so think about who you want to see it. Tagging friends and family in photographs and links can also backfire, especially if they don't want to be publicly linked to that content.

To find out more about what affects your online reputation, click here

Instant Messaging/ IM

Instant messaging is a way of communicating in real time via the Internet, allowing you to chat online through either a social media website or a dedicated app, like Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger.

It can also be an instant way of sharing content - like photos, links and videos. Services like Skype also allow video and audio calls between users.However, if you're IM-ing someone you've never met, or know only online, it's a good idea to consider what you're sharing.

For information about using Instant Messaging, click here


A retweet is where another Twitter user reposts your tweet onto their news feed, so that any users following their account will see it. It’s a popular method of spreading information and media swiftly, and to promote other users and events.

It can be easy to tweet and retweet almost instantly, but it's always a good idea to stop for a moment and think about what you're retweeting. Some content might be hilarious or shocking to view, but do you really want it appearing in your feed and be linked to you? Retweeting hurtful or abuse comments can escalate cyberbullying, and get you into huge trouble. 

For more information about your online reputation and what affects it, click Here


Skype is a free instant messenger service which allows real time voice and image communication; it lets you talk to other users either by phone or by real time webcam conversation.

However, it's a good idea to consider what you're sharing - once it's out there, it can be copied and shared - particularly images or video. 

For more information about using Skype safely, click here

Social Media

Social media describes the social creation, interaction and communication of both ideas and content via online communities and networks. These can be created through dedicated sites such as Facebook and Twitter, or through blogs and forums.

Social media can create a fantastic online community, enrich your digital identity and become an enjoyable part of your online life.

However, it's a really good idea to check what you post, what others can see and to find out how to deal with nasty comments and behavior.

Click here to visit our dedicated Social Networking page, and to find out more.


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