The Internet allows you to access a wealth of information without leaving the safety and privacy of you own home, or does it? Just as you can visit great museums and libraries, play games, check your favorite team’s stats and chat with friends, others can access you and your information. Does this mean you should avoid the Internet? Of course not, it just means that you need to be aware of the risks and take steps to keep yourself, and others around you, safe.
How can you minimize your risk?
- Be as anonymous as possible. This means not giving out your name, address or phone number, but also not talking specifically about your neighborhood or places you hang out.
- Protect your info. If possible, use a site that has “friends” lists and only allow people you know and trust to be your “friend.”
- Never have in-person meetings. Even if you are certain you know the person you “met” online, talk to an adult if your “friend” asks for an in-person meeting. Also, if you do decide to meet your “friend,” always meet in a public place and bring some friends or a trusted adult along.
- Think before you post anything. What you put up can be taken down and spread around by anyone. Especially avoid posting photos that could identify you or that are suggestive.
- Be honest about your age. Membership rules are there for a reason; if you’re too young, don’t lie!
Check out these useful websites
i-Safe’s X-Block »
Fun and interactive site for discovering ways you can teach others about Internet safety.
Netsmartz for Teens »
Get the 411 on Internet safety from real-live teens.
Social Networking Sites: Safety Tips for Tweens and Teens »
The Federal Trade Commission’s site on Internet safety includes tips and links to other organizations to help tweens and teens stay safe.