Read the rules and privacy options for websites that let you connect with others online.
We mean really read ’em. Some sites only let certain people who have registered read posts, chat and look at other users’ webpages. Others let anyone who come to the site check out everything. No matter which kind of site you’re on, find out if you can restrict your information so that it can only be seen by the people you choose.
Only share stuff online that you don’t mind anyone seeing.
Anyone can use the internet and most people do. That includes your parents, your friends’ parents, your teachers, and the creepy guy in the back of math class who never raises his hand. If you want private info to stay private, don’t post it online.
Once you post something online, it stays online.
You can delete something you’ve typed or posted from a site, but people can get to older versions of that site where your info still exists. If you’re not sure you should say something on the internet, you probably shouldn’t.
Don’t download anything if you don’t know who it’s from.
Downloads can give your computer viruses, mess up your applications and even cause your email server to send messages with your name on them to people you don’t know. You can set the preferences on your computer to warn you about downloads before it opens them. So stop and think before you download anything you’re not sure of. You don’t know where that thing has been.
Keep your online friendships online.
There are all kinds of cool people using the internet. But there’s no way of keeping the creeps out. If someone you met online wants to meet you in person, tell an adult. If you do end up meeting face to face bring a parent or another close adult with you.
And finally, if you feel unsafe, tell an adult.
If someone or something online is making you uncomfortable, tell a parent, a teacher or another adult you trust. Ask the adult to help you report the incident to the website, or if necessary to the police. Your actions might end up helping a lot of other people too.