eSafety: Not everything you see online is real!

One of the most important lessons you can teach young people, and some adults, is that not everything you see online is real!

I’ve heard many times before that people 100% believe what they read on Wikipedia, now there is a lot of useful content over there, but you have to remember anyone and everyone can edit the site. Not everything you read is true.

So, Saturday evening I was on Twitter, Tim Kidd (Chief Commissioner of England, The Scout Association) responded to a Tweet by Steve Reeves (Head of Safeguarding, The Scout Association) with the results of a ‘Down with the Kids’ survey. A Survey that gives you a percentage of how ‘down with the kids’ you are.

Here’s the tweet:

Here’s Tim’s Reply:


So what has this got to do with eSafety?

Well, if we continue the conversation for a while, I’ve responded with the results of my survey. So, Let’s let the tweets speak for themselves here:







Ah… now is that a challenge?

So I open up Photoshop, the result, Tim does actually Tweet using the YOLO acronym.

So the power of Photoshop results in having a image showing that Tim actually has, in the past, Tweeted YOLO. Enter Sam Marks (Development Officer (Safeguarding), The Scout Association):


What goes online, stays online, this being an important lesson that we teach young people during the ThinkUKnow presentation.

You’re Welcome Tim! Now, we’ve tried Photoshop, this time let’s edit the HTML and simply take a screenshot of the browser window.



Now this is the important bit.

Adding a few characters to peoples tweets may not appear to be the end of the world, and it was all done locally so the tweet never actually changed.

We’ve got to remember not everything we see online is real, things can be edited to say whatever anyone wants them to say. Someone sending you a screen grab doesn’t prove whatever the image shows was real, it may have been edited.


But, lets take this further, what if we replace a tweet with a photo? We open up Photoshop and edit a few things? Maybe change the location of the person by adding a different background? Make them look fatter? Change their hair colour? Add a few words describing what’s going on?

All the above is very easy to do, if you have the skills, but what happens next?

The young person involved may become distressed, everyone is laughing at them, their photo is being shared around the school or across town, or even around the world. There is nothing you can do to stop the spread of such photos. Once you click send or upload, you have lost all control of that image. Having it removed is impossible, how many times have we seen celebrities tweet something, but then realise they made a mistake and delete it. All the news broadcasters have a image of the tweet that they took before it got deleted. The same is true with a photo of a young person, anyone can have taken a copy, and once things have gone quiet, the image may resurface back online in a year’s time.

The key message here is, please remember what you put online, you really do lose all control once you hit that button that says send, share, upload, tweet….. the list goes on.

A Huge thank you to Tim Kidd, Steve Reeves and Sam Marks for letting me use their tweets in this blog post.

[Note to self] Next time do not edit a tweet mentioning the suspension process in The Scout Association by someone who delivers support webinars with advice on the suspension process… *runs and hides in a corner*

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