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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means

Digital Safeguarding

Learn how to keep everyone safe online

Keeping children and young people safe is our priority and we all have a part to play in keeping them safe. In this digital age, children and young people are vulnerable to abuse online.

Top tips for staying safe online

The internet can be fantastic but it’s not always easy for children and young people to know how to stay safe online. This advice can be shared with them to help keep them safe.

  • A grown up needs to know when you’re using a computer, tablet or phone, and what you are using it for. Remember to ask them before you use it.
  • It’s dangerous to tell new friends online too much about yourself, so make sure you don’t tell them your name, your phone number, where you live or where you go to school.
  • If somebody asks for a photo or video of you, don’t send one. If this happens, always tell a grown up that you trust.
  • Only accept or make phone and video calls to people you know. The only time you may need to call someone you don’t know is in an emergency. You may need to or be asked to call 999.
  • Bullying makes people feel sad. If you’re being bullied, tell one of your trusted grown-ups, such as a parent, a teacher, or a Scouts volunteer.
  • Some secrets can be nice and enjoyable, such as planning a surprise party for someone. If there are secrets that make you feel sad, worried, scared or unhappy, remember to tell someone a grown up that you trust. They can help you feel better.
  • Some games on phones and tablets cost money and may be for older people. Always ask the person who’s given you the phone or tablet if you can play games on there, so they can make sure the games are safe for you to play.
  • If you see something you don’t like or that makes you feel scared, worried or unhappy on a computer, tablet or phone, tell a grown up you know and trust.
  • Grown-ups, remember to praise a young person if they’ve reported something to you and remind them that they’ve done the right thing. Let them talk about it and make a note of what they say, following the guidelines on the Yellow Card. Remember to report this as appropriate, in line with the Yellow Card.
  • Think before you post: Only post things that show you or your friends in a positive way. You shouldn’t upload or share anything you wouldn’t want your parents, carers, friends, teachers, future employers or strangers seeing. Once you post something, you lose control of it, especially if someone else screenshots or shares it.
  • Support your friends online: Support your friends both online and offline. You can show you're listening to them by respecting their boundaries, treating them with kindness, and helping them have a fun time online. If your friend is struggling after something happens online, you can use reporting tools or help them speak to an adult they trust. Being there for your friends can help them feel less alone and can encourage them to seek further help if they need it.
  • Always block and report abuse: Block and report anyone who sends any abusive, negative or unsafe messages. You should then talk to an adult you trust. If you’re talking to someone online and they make you uncomfortable, remember you don’t have to talk back to them and you have the power to end the conversation.
  • Think critically about online ‘friends’: If you’re chatting with people that you only know online, remember that they may not be who they say they are. Protect yourself by not sharing personal information with them. If you’re unsure, remember it’s safest only to accept ‘friend’ requests from, or talk to, people you know in real life. If anyone asks to meet, tell an adult you trust straight away.
  • Protect your privacy: Turn off your Bluetooth to avoid unwanted Airdrops. You should only use a secure public Wi-Fi and log out of shared devices. Remember to regularly check what people can see in your privacy settings. Don’t forget to regularly check who’s in a WhatsApp or other online group and remove anyone who no longer needs access.
  • Think before you click links: Always double check links. Check any website you’re using has ‘https’ at the start of the address, especially for online banking, so that you know it’s secure. You can install anti-virus software, too.
  • Keep your passwords safe: Use secure passwords and never give out your password or log-in information. Pick strong, easy-to-remember passwords. Use two-factor authentication, where possible, especially for online payments.
  • Protect people’s identity: Pick a username that isn’t your real name and keep information, such as yours or someone else’s address, phone number, full name, school and date of birth, private. Even small clues, such as a school logo in a profile photo, can help someone find out a lot about you or someone else.
  • Cover your webcam: Some viruses will let someone access your webcam without you knowing, so make sure you cover your webcam whenever you’re not using it. You could use a specific cover for webcams, or just some sticky tack!
  • Watch out for scams: There are lots of websites that’ll try to trick you or pretend to be something or someone else. Fake accounts may try to ask you for information or money. If you’re unsure, don’t click it and get in touch with the company to confirm if it’s real.

Further guidance to help everyone stay safe when using digital tools

Scouting online safely

Read our guidance on how to run Scout activities safely online.

Learn to run safe online activities >
Online communication

Read our guidance on how to stay safe when communicating with young people and their parents or carers.

Learn more about safe communication >
Photography and recording at Scouts events

Read our guidance on how to keep young people safe when creating and using digital content.

Learn how to keep everyone safe while creating content >

Reporting a concern to safeguarding

If you're concerned about the welfare of a child, young person or adult volunteer, you must follow the Yellow Card Code of Conduct for Adults and report it to the UK HQ Safeguarding Team.

Report a concern to safeguarding

Get information and support with online safety

  • Childline offers information and advice for children and young people. You can talk to them by calling 0800 1111.
  • The National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) education programme provides information and guidance about online safety to children and young people, parents, and adults working with young people.
  • CEOP Safety Centre lets you report to one of CEOP's Child Protection Advisers if you're worried about online sexual abuse or the way someone has been communicating with you online.
  • NSPCC offers information, advice and support around online safety or bullying.

Visit our digital skills platform

Digital skills help us find, create and share information with others. In an increasingly online world, they've become more important than ever.

We know not everyone at Scouts is confident with technology, which is why we've developed a list of useful skills to help you with your volunteering. 

Learn more digital skills