Tips ‐ Teens
• Never give out personal information like your name, address or telephone number to anyone online.
• Never send a picture of yourself to someone you chat with on the computer without your parent’s permission.
• Don’t post other people’s information. You could be putting them at risk.
• Post only information that you are comfortable with others seeing — and knowing — about you. Many people can see your page, including your parents, your teachers, the police, or the college you might want to apply to in a few years.
• Remember that once you post information online, you can’t take it back. Even if you delete the information from a site, older versions exist on other people’s computers.
• Consider not posting your photo. It can be altered and broadcast in ways you may not be happy about. If you do post one, ask yourself whether it’s one your mom would display in the living room.
• Think about keeping some control over who sees your information. Consider restricting access to your page to a select group of people, for example, your friends from school or your family.
• Make sure your screen name doesn’t say too much about you. Don’t use your name, your age, or your hometown. Even if you think your screen name makes you anonymous, it doesn’t take a genius to combine clues to figure out who you are and
where you can be found.
• Think about how different sites work before deciding to join. Some sites will allow only a defined community of users to access posted content; others allow anyone and everyone to view postings.
• Never write to someone who has made you feel uncomfortable or scared.
• Tell your parents right away if you read anything on the Internet that makes you feel uncomfortable.
• Do not meet someone or have them visit you without the permission of your parents.
• Remember that people online may not be who they say they are.
• Flirting with strangers online could have serious consequences. Because some people lie about who they really are, you never really know who you’re dealing with.
• Trust your gut if you have suspicions. If you feel threatened by someone or uncomfortable because of something online, tell an adult you trust and report it to the police and the social networking site. You could end up preventing someone else from becoming a victim.
• If someone is harassing you online or being a “cyber bully”, tell a trusted adult about it.
• Don’t open or read messages by cyber bullies.
• If you do open a message from a cyber bully, don’t erase it—they may be needed to take action.
• Tell your school if it is school related. Schools have a bullying solution in place.
• If bullied through chat or instant messaging, the “bully” can often be blocked.
• If you are threatened with harm, inform the local police.