Internet Safety

Chat Room Safety for Teens

  • Remember that what you say in a chat room or instant messaging session is live — you can’t take it back or delete it later.
  • Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want the public to know — this includes your full name, your address, phone number of other personal information.
  • Don’t get together with someone you meet in a chat room. If you must, meet in a public place and bring along some friends. Don’t reveal your actual location or when and where you plan to hang out.
  • Choose a nick name that’s not sexually suggestive and doesn’t give away your real name.
  • If someone says or does something creepy — block them and don’t respond.
  • If the topic turns to sex, just sign out. That can often lead somewhere you don’t want to go.

Chat Room Safety Advice
by Larry Magid

Much has been written about dangers on the Internet, but if your child is going to get in trouble online, chances are that it will be because of something that happens in a chat room. Don’t be alarmed. Millions of children engage in chat and instant messaging every day and the overwhelming majority are not victimized. Still, a number of the leads reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) CyberTipLine.

Social web safety tips for teens

Think about what you post. Sharing provocative photos or intimate details online, even in private emails, can cause you problems later on. Even people you consider friends can use this info against you, especially if they become ex-friends.

Read between the “lines.” It may be fun to check out new people for friendship or romance, but be aware that, while some people are nice, others act nice because they’re trying to get something. Flattering or supportive messages may be more about manipulation than friendship or romance.

Don’t talk about sex with strangers. Be cautious when communicating with people you don’t know in person, especially if the conversation starts to be about sex or physical details. Don’t lead them on – you don’t want to be the target of a predator’s grooming. If they persist, call your local police or contact CyberTipline.com.

Avoid in-person meetings. The only way someone can physically harm you is if you’re both in the same location, so – to be 100% safe – don’t meet them in person. If you really have to get together with someone you “met” online, don’t go alone. Have the meeting in a public place, tell a parent or some other solid backup, and bring some friends along.

Be smart when using a cell phone. All the same tips apply with phones as with computers. Except phones are with you wherever you are, often away from home and your usual support systems. Be careful who you give your number to and how you use GPS and other technologies that can pinpoint your physical location.

Navigating the web
Here are some Internet safety tips to help you navigate your way safely through the tangled world of the information superhighway:

Internet safety tips
These basic Internet safety tips are only meant to serve as a starting point for making your Internet surfing more secure. They will not protect you from an experienced and determined hacker or online predator. They will however, be enough to deter the majority of online threats to the general public.  If you use a firewall and a current virus and spyware program, your Internet connection should be safe enough for everyday Web surfing. However, if you use a wireless modem you may be at risk for identity theft or other forms of computer hacking. There are a few rules of wireless surfing that can help keep your connection safe.

Rules for wireless surfing
Using a wireless Internet connection while away from home is always risky. You should keep your Bluetooth settings and Wi-Fi connections turned off when in a public place to prevent hackers from obtaining access to your computer and your private information.  Never use a public Wi-Fi connection that asks you for a password. This could be an attempt by a hacker to gain your personal passwords.  When using your Wi-Fi connection at home, immediately shut down your computer if you notice anything suspicious about your connection settings. Power off all computers in your home and consult a service technician before using them again. To help deter hackers, manually turn on the WPA encryption on your home Wi-Fi router. This is the most important step in securing your network.  Always connect to a Wi-Fi network manually instead of allowing your computer or smart phone to connect automatically. You should change your personal Wi-Fi network from the generic Linksys to an easily recognizable term so that you will detect if a hacker has offered you a false second Linksys connection. Changing all default passwords after you have connected to a public Wi-Fi network is one way to help foil a hacker who has phished your passwords.  When conducting personal business online like banking, never use a website link that is embedded in an email. Hover over the address to verify the site and then copy/paste or manually type in the address to ensure that you are not being redirected to a password sensitive dummy site that has been set up by a hacker. You should use passwords that is at least 20 characters long, and a combination of numbers and letters. Using a non-dictionary password prevents most hackers from guessing your password. (Using generic terms like: PASSWORD1 or MYFIRSTNAME2 are not secure enough to fool hackers.)

Internet safety for kids

  • Never give out your password to anyone except mom and dad; not even a best friend.
  • Never post your full name, address, telephone number, school information, or daily schedule on the Internet.
  • Check with a parent before posting any pictures or sending then via email to anyone outside of the family.
  • Never agree to meet an online friend in person without discussing it with your parents first.
  • Be aware that just because you think you are chatting with another teenager, there is no way to verify that you aren’t talking to a grown adult posing as a child to attract victims.
  • Report all unsolicited emails, unfamiliar chat requests and any offensive material to parents immediately.

For your own safety you should agree to the following:

  • Check with an adult before downloading anything from the Internet so that you do not put the family’s privacy at risk.
  • Do not post provocative words or pictures on any social site like MySpace.
  • Avoid any websites that your parents deem as inappropriate.
  • Do not agree to take inappropriate, nude or obscene pictures of yourself or anyone else with the intent of posting them on the Internet.