Online Safety Tips
- Only friend people you really and truly know.
- Don't trust everyone you meet online -- even if they claim to be a "mutual friend".
- Don't post personal info about yourself or your family, that you're having problems at home, work or school, etc.
- Don't post suggestive, obscene or compromising photos.
- Don't fill out surveys -- this just gives other people more personal information about you.
- Do have fun with it -- post goofy photos, fun photos, photos of vacations, the bands you like, etc are great.
- If you really need to "vent" about bad things happening in your life, buy a paper journal or diary and write in it when you need to.
- Don't create groups or pages that harass or bully another student or person -- you WILL get in trouble.
- Don't post your cell or home phone, home address or where you work.
- The more information you put in a profile, the easier it will be for a potential bully, stalker or predator to use that information *against* you.
- Employers and colleges/universities monitor social networking sites and do "Google" searches -- you may lose a job or admission to the school of your dreams because of what you do online.
General online safety tips:
- Use a generic username/e-mail address.
- Use a free e-mail account such as Hotmail or YAHOO! for boards, blogs, chat rooms, IMs, e-mails from strangers, and other online activities.
- Don't share your password with friends.
- Don't post any email address if you don't need to.
- Change your settings/preferences -- usually the default is that everyone else online and on that web site can see everything you post; change it so that only your friends/buddies/followers can see what you do.
- If you don't feel comfortable with someone who contacts you, do NOT respond, but do put them on block or ignore.
- Lurk on groups, message boards, social networking sites and chat rooms before posting messages.
- When you do participate online, be careful -- only type what you would say to someone's face.
- Don't get involved in an online argument.
- Don't take revenge on someone online -- you could go to jail for it.
- Never give out your real name, age, address, where you work or phone number online without permission.
- Don't take sexy photos of yourself to send to your boyfriend/girlfriend via cell phone or computer. It WILL end up on the Internet for the world to see & it's against the law. It's considered child pornography and the sender and receiver could be charged with felonies because you're under the age of 18.
- Your first instinct may be to defend yourself if you are bothered online -- DON'T -- this is how most online harassment situations begin.
- Create a hard-to-guess password, such as m0n6oo53 (mongoose) & DO NOT share it with friends.
- If you wouldn't say it to a stranger on the street, don't "say" it online!