Learning how to look after yourself is an important part of becoming an adult.
A big part of that is taking care of your personal safety.
If you're going out, stick with at least one person you know well and trust.
Don't be alone with anyone you don't know or haven't met in person before.
Make sure you:
- tell someone trustworthy where you are and who you're with
- arrange a time when you'll call them to let them know you're okay.
Choose someone you know will try and find you if your pre-arranged contact time passes and raise the alarm if they can't get in touch with you.
Alcohol and Drugs
Alcohol and drugs can affect our ability to make sound judgements and to figure out how trustworthy people are.
Ready for sex?
Are you really ready for sex? Have you thought it through and talked about it with your partner? Have you talked about safer sex with them and thought about the risks?
Would it help to talk to a trusted adult or family member like your parents or a brother or sister?
Read more about whether you're really ready for sex.
Changing your mind
If you do decide to have sex, it's your right to change your mind and stop at any time.
Anyone who truly respects you will accept your new decision.
Even if you have had sex before it doesn’t mean you have to do it again if you don’t want to, even if it is with the same person.
Lots of people meet online these days, but you need to be careful. Not everyone is who they say they are.
As a rule, don't give out any details that could allow people you only know online to find you in real life.
Be suspicious of people who want to know your email address, phone number or your home address.
On social networking sites, there's rarely any need to give out any contact details other than your username. Blocking anyone you don't like is much easier if you're only in touch through the networking site.
Also, be careful not to give details of places you can be found - school, college, clubs, pubs, or favourite hangouts.
For more advice on staying safe online and help if something bad has happened, visit CEOP Safety Online.
Meeting online friends
It's usually not a great idea to meet up with people you only know online.
You should be extra cautious if it's them suggesting you meet up.
And don't be fooled into thinking they're okay just because they seem to be online friends with other people you know. Your friends may not ever have met them in person either.
If you do want to meet someone you've got to know online:
- take a trusted friend along with you, preferably an adult
- insist on meeting them in a busy public place
- don't go anywhere alone or private with them.
Any genuine online friend will understand why you've taken these steps and won't be offended.