Stay safe online

Hi all

Today's blog is all about staying safe online, I feel that it right to bring to your attention certain things that go on in the online world that we all need protecting from. I feel passionate about this as I myself have once suffered from serious mental health issues, one of my past mental health problems started when I read a book once, that changed my thinking so drastically that it harmed my mental health and it took me some years to get over. The point that I am trying to make is that reading harmful content can harm people and its absolutely vital that we protect not only ourselves, but our friends, family and acquaintances online and off, by warning people of the dangers that are out there.

Today is a day when new powers are being announced to tackle harmful content online, websites and social media pages that encourage harming yourself are to be targeted and hopefully taken down. It is a move by the UK Authorities and hopefully will be backed up by the US and EU.

We have to be aware that some online content is dangerous to your mental health, and, by being aware of it, it all helps us to be safer online. One of the news articles on the TV this week featured a young lady that had taken her own life after viewing social media pages and harmful websites online, these pages actually encouraged her to hurt herself, she was young and extremely vulnerable. These people who invest their time and effort to encourage self harm are a disgrace, sick isn't the word for it. You must be aware that these pages are out there, people can post some terrible content online and you need to be prepared if you ever come across it because it is dangerous.

I call upon the security services of the United Kingdom, the US and the EU to protect us all from online harm. You have the power and authority to banish these websites and social media content from our portals and you must do all that you can in protecting us and our children.

The likes of Facebook, Google and Twitter as well, you must do more to protect people online, too much harmful content is allowed online, and it's high time you put a stop to it. People wouldn't say and do some of the things in the general public which they do online and it is the big social media companies who must do more and shift some of this data from our devices.

The much vaunted GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) doesn't go far enough in protecting people from online harm sites. In fact I don't think that it's in it, if it is it isn't clear. More must be done at regulatory level in shifting this harmful bile from our screens.

It's a strong message I know but it's important, take time to see what websites your children are viewing and see what they are accessing, not to spy but to encourage security, safety and learning what is good to do online and what not to do.

The National Cyber Security Centre (A UK Government Institution) is an invaluable website that helps you in your cyber world, it is a place where security is discussed and these people help to keep you safer online. It's a really good Government department that is very responsible, forward thinking and available for you. You can find their website at NCSC, they also have a section for individuals and families.

I thank you for your time in reading this article, my message is simple.

Stay safe online



Steven Burgess is a Consultant and Data Protection Officer for Disclosure Services Limited, a company that process data relating to criminal record checks.