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Safety Information

Online safety tips

Below are some tips and helpful links to help you stay safe online:

  • Never give out your personal information online
  • Do not make online connections on social networking sites such as Facebook and Bebo if you are unsure who the person is
  • Online friends are best kept online, meeting strangers can be very dangerous.
  • People may not be who they say they are
  • Be wary of opening files from people you don't know, they could contain a virus or unsuitable content
  • Be careful about what you write on your friends profiles for everyone to see, it is better to send them a private message telling them where you are going or personal things
  • Most social networking websites have privacy settings that you can change to make sure only your friends can see your profile

Your safety when using theSprout


Your username is the name you choose for your account and will be seen throughout the site when you post news, events and comments. If you prefer to remain anonymous, we recommend choosing a username which is not a derivative of your name, or something that would identify you to others. A lot of people prefer to go by an "alias" or nickname when browsing the web. Now with social networking sites such as Bebo and Facebook being so popular, it is becoming easier to find people online. You may prefer to keep that part of your internet use separate.

On the other hand, if you would like people to recognise you, (for example, to raise the profile of your work, or provide credit for writing a great article), your username can reflect this. You can also add in links to your other profile pages and websites in your profile.


Never give your theSprout password (or any other for your accounts online) to anyone, or post it anywhere. It is recommended you choose a strong password, this means a password which includes numbers and symbols as well as letters, to make it harder to crack. Microsoft offer a password strength tester which will tell you how secure your password is. If you are concerned that someone may have your password, or there is fraudulent activity taking place using your account you can reset your password from within the log-in area, and alert a member of staff.


As a registered user of theSprout you have the ability to create a user profile. Profiles can only been seen by other registered users who are logged in, and you have the option to disable it from being seen at all.

Your profile contains the following information:

  • Your username
  • If you are a member of the Editorial Group
  • Your age, and which county you come from
  • When you joined
  • Recently posted news - links to articles you've posted recently, if any

All of the above is optional. You can fill in as much or as little as you like. There is also an option to make your profile private. This means no one will be able to see information about you or read about your latest online activities.

Report This

You will notice a "Report this" button on every page of the site. This flags up that item to be reviewed by the theSprout web team. If you are offended or worried about something on theSprout, please don't hesitate to report it to us. Although we have staff frequently monitoring the website during the day and we have in place a strict moderation process, we still think it's important for users to be able to easily alert us to anything inappropriate. If you are still concerned or if it is an urgent matter, you can contact our theSprout web team on - 029 20 302471

External Links

An external link is a link from theSprout to another web page outside of the theSprout network. theSprout cannot be responsible for the content of external links. Whilst every effort is taken to ensure the content of external links posted is suitable and safe, external web pages are not managed by us and so the content could change. If you find an external link within theSprout that is dead or broken (not working), or has unsuitable content please report it to staff either using the "Report this" button, or contacting the theSprout web team directly on 029 20 302471 or using the support ticket

theSprout social networking

theSprout is dedicated to providing information to you in the formats and places you want. Through our consultations and questionnaires, it became clear that most of you are users of social networking websites. Because of this, theSprout has a presence on most popular social networking sites, which is maintained by our web team and members of the Editorial Group. theSprout also offers support to local theSprout sites wanting to create profiles on these social networking sites. However these are not maintained by the theSprout team, so for any queries regarding them please contact your local editor. Despite the bad press, social networking sites do have plenty of unique advantages (besides allowing you to tell the world what you had for breakfast).These include equipping us with technology, creative and communication skills as well as encouraging us to be open to new or diverse views.


theSprout YouTube channel showcases all of the videos we've created and some which you have created (we only put your videos on YouTube if you give us permission). We also use YouTube to create playlists of videos that we think you may be interested in. This task is also undertaken by members of the Editorial Group from time to time. Before any video is added to our channel or is associated with theSprout in any way, it is watched in full and checked for unsuitable content. Unfortunately theSprout can't be responsible for these videos in the event they are re-edited after our initial checking. However we make sure we only add videos from reliable sources and always aim to keep a close eye on the changes made. We can't be responsible for any of the other content on YouTube, such as "related videos" so we ask that you be aware of this, and comply to YouTube's terms and conditions.


You can interact with our profiles on the following sites by "becoming our friend" or joining our groups. theSprout takes no responsibility for any content published on these websites that is not directly created by us.

Please take a few minutes to complete this survey. It will help us find out how you use the website so we can keep improving it for you. Everyone who completes the survey will get the chance to win £50.