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We are all responsible for treating everyone on line with dignity and respect. You should not use behaviour or language that would be offensive or upsetting to somebody else.

Could this be you?

When John accepts Andrea from his numeracy class as a friend on Facebook, he finds that Andrea has written some stuff about someone else in the class that isn't very nice. John isn't sure what to do - it looks like it's meant to be a joke but it makes him feel uncomfortable to have read it and say nothing.

John thought about whether to tell the person it was written about, but decided that might just stir up trouble. Instead he spoke to Andrea the next day (he didn't want to message her in case things got misunderstood). He told Andrea that he wanted her as a friend but wasn't happy with the things she was saying, even if it was meant as a joke. Things ended up with a group of them talking about how once you put things on the internet you never know who else might see them, and how that may upset someone or make other people think you were mean or prejudiced.

Their numeracy tutor even joined in the discussion and said he was glad there was no internet when he was their age – everyone has to be much more careful nowadays.

What to do if this is happening to you?

John did the right thing. It is true that things you post on Facebook or anywhere else could end up being seen by all sorts of other people. Putting things on the internet is a bit like saying things in public - and what you say in public is different to what you might say in private between a couple of friends.

It is up to everyone to do our best to make sure the internet is a friendly and welcoming space we can all use and enjoy - and to do something about those people who spoil it.

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