Chatting is a great way to stay in touch and keep up to date with friends. E-mail, MSN, Skype, text - what's your favourite?

This is the place to learn about making SMART decisions when you're chatting online.

Top Tips

  • Treat your online space with respect – only allow your real life friends to link to you…if you haven’t met them in real life don’t link to them.
  • Use a nickname online (not your real name) and a nickname that is not going to attract the wrong type of attention!
  • Meeting up with an online friend can be dangerous – if you really have to meet up with them speak to an adult and make sure that they go with you.
  • ALWAYS have a good look at the privacy settings of any spaces you post personal information on and make sure you know who can see or copy your stuff!
  • Look out for your friends online and do something if you think they are at risk.
  • Delete chainmails - they're just rubbish.
  • Learn the SMART rules and use them when you chat online.
Print Top Tips HERE »

Chain, Junk mail and SPAM

Email inboxes can be busy places. Think about how you want to spend your time- seeing emails from your friends or wasting your time with unwanted messages. Visit the NET NASTIES page to find out what you can do about chain, junk mail and SPAM

Chips from Northern Ireland:

"The internet is cool because you can make friends but remember some people aren’t who they say they are..."



Instant messenger

Have you ever accepted a file from a friend on Messenger? Always think twice before doing it. Viruses can be spread very quickly from messenger – if you’re not sure what the message contains don’t download and ask your friend on the phone or face to face what it contains.

E mails

Only open emails from people you know and trust and remember to read the subject line carefully. If the subject or the email itself doesn’t sound as if it is really from your friend DON’T open any attachments contained in the email – it might be a virus! Tell your friend what’s going on and run your anti virus software to be on the safe side.

Chain mails

Have you ever received one of those emails telling you that you have to forward it on to 10 of your friends or something bad will happen? Chain mails can be a bit of a net nasty – if you read something that scares or worries you, find someone to talk to and remember an electronic piece of information like an email can never hurt you. Get together with your mates and agree to delete time wasting chain mails and to never forward them on to anyone.


A chatroom is an open environment where people can get together to talk to each other. It’s open because usually you can talk to anyone. If you do use chatrooms try to make sure that there is a moderator – this means that there is someone keeping an eye on what is being said and never forget the SMART rules

Chatting everywhere!

These days you can chat with people in loads of different ways. From your computer, your mobile, on webcam and from games consoles. Feel free to chat but remember whatever technology you are chatting on …from your phone to your games console, the rules are the same. Be suspicious and always ask an adult if you’re not sure.


Sometimes people can pretend to be someone they’re not online. If you think that you might have been contacted by an adult who is asking you to do personal things you don’t want to do you can report it by following the link below:

Print this information for your parents so they can help you when you are chatting online

Find Out More…

  • On these websites
  • A website about staying safe when chatting on the internet
  • Information about staying safe from strangers online
  • A confidential interactive web service designed to help young people aged 12 to 16 by giving information, advice and support.