Keeping yourself Safe
Let's face it - when it comes to the Net, today’s children and teens know much more than their parents. It’s no big deal being able to surf the Net, to be in a Chat room and text friends on your mobile all at the same time! Today though, the internet has become a place for predators and bullies, and children and teens need to know how to keep themselves SAFE!!
Social Networking Safety
Teens and young adults have flocked to so-called social-networking sites, to the extent that children who don't have a profile are becoming the exception to the rule. Cheaper, more accessible technologies have not only broken down barriers to multimedia production, but also psychological barriers to self-expression on the Internet. These social networking sites give children the opportunity to share stories, pictures, videos, and other files with friends and acquaintances. For children of this generation, who have used Internet-based technologies for many social purposes, posting a profile of one's self and sending messages and files to friends is a natural progression. There are certainly safety concerns that parents and children should discuss -- related to the posting of inappropriate content, personal information, and contact with friends they make online. E.g. Facebook, My Space, Twitter
Chat Room Safety
Chat is a very popular activity for young people, especially teenagers, but it is also the area where they are most likely to get into trouble. When you're in a chat area, it's easy to forget that you are in a public "place" and that you don't necessarily know the true identity of anyone in the chat room. It's common to "meet" someone in a chat area who gains your confidence by being sympathetic and willing to "listen" to your problems. Children and especially teens need to be extremely careful in chat rooms. They should never reveal their true identity and they should never assume that someone is as he or she seems to be. They should NEVER agree to meet someone in person based on a friendly online chat without talking to their parents. If parents agree to the meeting, they or another adult should be present and it should be in a public place.
More Information for Children
More Information for Teens
Instant messaging is like chat, except that it's usually a one-on-one experience instead of a group activity. In some ways that's safer if the person the child is messaging is a friend or relative, but it can be dangerous if it's a stranger. Unlike in some chat rooms, there is never anyone else there to monitor activity, so when you are messaging another person it's as if the two of you are together in a private room.
There are two dangers when it comes to e-mail. First, someone may try to communicate with you via e-mail. It could be something innocent, it could be a form of "spam" (unsolicited commercial e-mail), or it might be a message from someone who is trying to lure your child into an inappropriate relationship. If you suspect that the latter is the case, and that your physical safety is in danger, you may wish to contact law enforcement. Any mail from a stranger, even if it's innocent, can be disturbing to some person, which is why it's a good idea not to accept mail from persons that you don’t know. "Spam," or electronic "junk mail" is designed to get people to buy something, visit a Web site, or take some other action. It's not uncommon for inappropriate messages to find their way to children.
One of the most disturbing types of messages is those that promote sexually explicit Web sites and include links to those sites. It's very difficult to stop these types of messages and, unfortunately, asking the sender to stop sending them doesn't always work. Some online services and Internet providers have tools to help you block spam, and many e-mail programs have blocking tools as well. You can try these tools, but they don't always work because people who send spam often disguise themselves and keep changing identities so they can get past the spam filters. Your best defense is not to accept mail from persons that you don’t know. The basic rules of safety - not giving out personal information also apply to e-mail as well as other areas of the internet. Children should never send a photo of themselves via e-mail to anyone without checking with their parents to be sure it's safe.
Online Safety Rules For Children and Teens
- I will not give out personal information such as my address, telephone number, parent's work address/telephone number, or the name and location of my school without my parents' permission.
- I will tell my parents right away if I come across any information that makes me feel uncomfortable.
- If someone I met online wants to meet me in the real world, I will tell my parents FIRST. If my parents agree to the meeting, I will be sure that it is in a public place and bring my mother or father along.
- I will never send a person my picture or anything else without first checking with my parents.
- I will not respond to any email or IM that are mean or in any way makes me feel uncomfortable. It is not my fault if I get a message like that. If I do receive messages like this, I will tell my parents or teacher right away so that they can contact the online service.
- I will talk with my parents so that we can set up rules for going online. We will decide upon the time of the day that I can be online, the length of time I can be online and appropriate areas for me to visit. I will not access other areas or break these rules without their permission.
- If I want to give out or type in information about myself online, I will first show my parents - even if it's to enter a game or contest.
- I will only respond to emails or instant messages from people I know (or from addresses I know).
- If a Web site asks me to type in my name, address, email and hobbies, I will ask my parents first if it's OK.
- If a Web site asks for my parents' email address so that they can seek their permission for me to enter a game or provide my personal information, I will always confirm with my parents first if its OK to give out their information.
For more information on keeping your privacy online go to: