The Internet can be a good and fun resource to use for research and learning. You can avoid danger by using the Internet smartly and by following guidelines to stay safe. These are some simple safety rules you can follow while using the Internet.
Use a screen name instead of your real name.
Always tell a parent or teacher about any message that is scary or inappropriate.
Never share personal information, such as addresses, phone numbers, school names, or locations.
Never trade personal photographs online or by email.
Never agree to meet anyone from a chat room in person.
Never respond to an email or message that is a threat.
Do not download pictures or any other files from an unknown source.
It is important to learn how to treat others when you are online. Good online behavior means being polite to other people on the Internet. Do not use rude or mean language. Do not call people names. Be respectful of others when using online resources.
People who make fun of others online are cyber bullies. Sometimes cruel messages can even come from people you know. If someone bullies you online, do not respond and leave the conversation. If ignoring the bullying doesn't make it go away, report it to a trusted adult.
Chat rooms are online spaces where people go to talk to each other. They are set up by interest or topic, such as a favorite sport or TV show. People can chat with each other alone or in a group.
Chat rooms are popular but can have hidden dangers. Sometimes people pretend to be someone else. Never share personal information, such as addresses, phone numbers, school names, or locations. Do not call a number that anyone gives you because the other person may be able to track your phone number with Caller ID.
Social Networking Sites
Social networking sites are like a combination of a diary, a family album, and a personal ad website. These sites are designed to allow people to share their pictures and information with others. Sometimes people do this to stay in touch with people they know. Sometimes they do it to find friends with similar interests.
The same warnings for chat rooms apply to social networking sites. Never share personal information with strangers. Do not agree to meet in person with someone you have met online.
Some adults use chat rooms and social networking sites to mislead children and to contact them inappropriately. Remember that someone who says "she" is a "12-year-old girl" could really be an older man. Always tell a parent or teacher about any message that is scary or makes you uncomfortable.
When you are online, do not claim to be someone that you are not. Also, be careful not to give out personal information to strangers. When you are in a chat room or using another online social networking resource, never give your real name, social security number, telephone number, or address.